Iran advance to AFC U-20 Futsal Championship final

May 24, 2017

Iran advanced to the 2017 AFC U-20 Futsal Championship final after a resounding 7-5 victory over Thailand on Wednesday.

In a clash between two futsal giants, Thailand’s Panut Kittipanuwong opened the scoring in the first 30 seconds, but Iran’s skipper Touhid Lotfi responded moments later to level the score.

Iran looked to extend their lead at the 10th minute, but a swift Thai counterattack ensued and Kittipanuwong duly doubled the host nation’s advantage.

Iran, however, found an equalizer once again, when Mohammad Taheri’s free kick found the back of the net after Thailand received their fifth foul in the first-half.  

Both sides began to play more cautiously thereafter, conscious that another foul would mean offering their opponents a penalty kick, and both sides seemed content to reach the break with two goals apiece in Bangkok Arena..

Sarawut Phalaphruek and Worrapluch Jiwjaratrong’s crisscrosses in the Iranians’ penalty area were exceptional but custodian Abolfazi Shahbazi dealt with any threats.

All was almost said and done when Iran’s Mohammad Jame broke the deadlock in the 39th minute giving Ali Sanei’s side the lead, but it was to be short-lived as Jiwjaratrong’s short-range strike gave Miguel Rodrigo’s side a chance to fight again, forcing the game into extra-time.

Lotfi then picked up his second goal of the match in the 43rd minute, before Thailand’s power play handed Muhammad Osamanmusa the opportunity to etch his name on the scoresheet in the last second of the first-half of extra-time, the-afc,com wrote.

Thailand committed their sixth second-half foul, giving Hamidreza Karimi the opportunity to score through a penalty, before Lotfi claimed his third a minute later.

Kittipanuwong’s goal in the 48th minute narrowed the margin to just one goal but their power play backfired when Hamzeh Kamdkhoda slid the ball into an unguarded goal, sending the Iranians to the final and Rodrigo’s side into the third-place play-off on Thursday.

The tournament will serve as qualifying for the futsal tournament at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, with the winner and the runner-up qualifying for the boys' tournament, where they will be represented by their U-18 representative teams.

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