Maldives keep goal count down against Iran

Maldives fight well against defending Asian Games champion Iran, before losing the match.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 23:08 IST

Defending champions Iran got the defence of their Asian Games football title off to a winning start on Wednesday with a 3-1 win over the Maldives.

But at least the Indian Ocean side didn't suffer as they did the last time these two sides met when Iran racked up a 17-0 scoreline in a World Cup qualifier in 1997.

Iran went into the match in a state of turmoil having been banned then reinstated by FIFA at the weekend in a row with the Tehran government over interference in footballing affairs.

Iran, coached by veteran Brazilian Rene Simoes, were always on top in the Group D clash at the Al-Gharrafa stadium but will regret not adding to their total having dominated possession throughout the match.

They were in front after just 10 minutes, when Arash Borhani headed in a sweet right-wing cross from Mohsen Arzani.

Iran made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute with Mazyar Zare Eshghdoost firing in a free-kick round a poorly-organised wall and under the body of Maldives keeper Imran Mohamed.

Maldives stuck to their task and pulled one back in the 78th minute through Arshad Ali who pounced upon a poor backpass from Jalal Hosseini to score past Hassan Roudbarian.

But Iran made sure of the points four minutes from time with a goal from substitute Adel Kolahkaj.

First Published: Dec 01, 2006 23:08 IST