Angola pack bags with Iran after draw
Angola failed in their bid to reach the knockout phase of the World Cup finals on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 with already eliminated Iran.india Updated: Jun 21, 2006 22:17 IST
Angola failed in their bid to reach the knockout phase of the World Cup finals on Wednesday, drawing 1-1 with already eliminated Iran.
Striker Flavio came off the bench to give Angola a 1-0 lead in their Group D clash at the Zentralstadion after an hour, but defender Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh headed firmly home in the 75th minute to seal the draw.
Mexico finished second in the group despite losing 2-1 to Portugal, who topped the standings with three wins out of three.
Portugal will play the losers of Wednesday's match between Argentina and the Netherlands and Mexico face the winner.
Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves again opted to start with captain Akwa as a lone striker supported by a solid five-man midfield.
Akwa failed to make much impression on the Iranian defence and was replaced by Flavio in the 51st minute after picking up a groin injury.
Within 10 minutes Flavio had scored Angola's first goal in a World Cup finals, heading powerfully home from a perfect right-wing cross by Ze Kalanga.
Iran had dominated the first half and should have taken the lead in the 24th minute.
Veteran striker Ali Daei, in what could be his final international appearance, rose unmarked at the back post but the 37-year-old sent his header sailing over the bar.
Shortly after, Angola midfielder Mendonca blocked a powerful header from dangerous Iran frontman Vahid Hashemian on the line.
Iran's attacking potency was dulled considerably when Hashemian was forced off just before the break with what appeared to be an injury to his lower back.
They finally broke through when Bakhtiarizadeh was left completely unmarked from a corner on the right and guided his header inside the far post.