Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Iran 1 - South Korea 0; Uzbekistan 5 - Qatar 1

Seoul was the site for the match between visiting Iran and South Korea.  At least one team would be qualified to Brasil 2014 after the conclusion of play.  Son Heung-Min hit a bouncer into the turf, but the shot did not stay down and went over Iran's goal.  South Korea broke for goal off a defended corner, but Lee Myung-Joo's sprint was slowed by great recovery defense from Khosro Heydari.  In spite of near total dominance, South Korea could not score and the first half ended without a goal.

A whiff by Kim Young-Gwon in defense with no help behind him allowed Reza Ghoochannejhad to latch onto ball and go one-on-one with the goalkeeper to score the opener for Iran.  Kim Young-Gwon fell to the floor in shame, but truthfully his mistake hurt Uzbekistan a lot more than it hurt South Korea.  Kim Young-Gwon almost made up for his error with a strike off a short free kick that had rebounded to him, but Iran goalkeeper Rahman Ahmadi made a superhuman move to deny the goal.  Ahmadi doubled his save by regrouping in time to deny Jang Hyun-Soo as well, keeping Iran in qualifying position.  Lee Keun-Ho saw his late header attempt go just wide of goal, leaving the Taegeuk Warriors behind in the match as time expired.  Iran win 1-0 and qualify for Brasil 2014.

The match in Tashkent between hosts Uzbekistan and Qatar kicked off only two minutes after the festivities in Seoul.  Qatar started a very much second-choice side, which perhaps gave the offensive-minded Uzbekistan lineup an opening to score many, many goals in anticipation of overcoming a massive goal-differential disparity against either South Korea or Iran, depending on the other match's result.  Uzbekistan were only assured of qualification with a six-goal victory, though a Korean victory would make a one-goal Uzbek victory enough.  Server Djeparov had the first clear chance for Uzbekistan with a snapped left-footed shot, but Qatar goalkeeper Ahmed Abonora was able to tip to safety.  Alexander Geynrikh was very dangerous for Uzbekistan, and he nearly scored when a ball nearly found him sliding three yards out.  Somehow, in spite of the dominance of the White Wolves, Qatar were first to score on a counterattack.  A beautiful through ball from Khalfan Ibrahim was tucked into the far corner by Abdulgadir Bakur with Qatar having a numerical advantage on the break.  Ibrahim Abdulmajed of Qatar nearly turned an own goal off a corner, but the crossbar saved him.  Timur Kapadze's cross was volleyed on the fly by Geynrikh, but again the crossbar played favorites and picked Qatar.  The half ended 1-0 to Qatar.

Bakhodir Nasimov was substituted in for Uzbekistan on the hour mark, and he immediately scored after receiving a pass across the box on a three-on-two break.  Uzbekistan were finally level at 1-1.  With less than twenty minutes to go, it became clear that South Korea were not going to win their match, so Uzbekistan went all out to try and win by six goals.  They came close.  Oleg Zoteev slalomed through Qatar right back Hamid Khaleefa twice before finishing at the near post to give the White Wolves a 2-1 lead.  Two minutes later, it was 3-1.  Abonora tried to punch away a header only to kill the ball's momentum for a tap-in goal to Nasimov.  With three minutes left in regulation time, Odil Ahmedov volleyed a high deflection once it fell back down toward Earth into the Qatar goal.  4-1 became 5-1 in stoppage time.  Abonora did all he could to prevent an own goal, but the rebound fell perfectly for a tap-in to Uzbekistan.  Uzbekistan win 5-1, but the margin of victory was not enough to qualify them for Brasil 2014.  South Korea instead are on their way to Brasil 2014, with Uzbekistan into the AFC Playoff.

Iran 16 pts IN
South Korea 14 pts +6 IN
Uzbekistan 14 pts +5
Qatar OUT
Lebanon OUT

Reza Ghoochannejhad 60
Bakhodir Nasimov 61, 74
Oleg Zoteev 72
Odil Ahmedov 87
Ulugbek Bakaev 90+1

Abdulgadir Bakur 37

Match Reports:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDG5___LMwQ (Iran v. South Korea)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VI7NfWoLlxE (Uzbekistan v. Qatar)

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