By Masoud Hossein

Eagle of Asia turns 55

May 25, 2021 - 16:7

TEHRAN – Iranians will never forget a special day in the 90s, when they emerged victorious over powerhouses Australia thanks to Ahmadreza Abedzadeh’s performance between the sticks.

In any discussion about the Iran’s best goalkeepers, the name Abedzadeh invariably comes up.

On Nov. 29, 1997, Iran staged an astonishing late rally to grab the last berth in the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals on the away-goals rule after a 2-2 draw with Australia in Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Abedzadeh, beyond a shadow of a doubt, played a significant role in the match and sent the Iranian team to the World Cup after 20 years.

Plucky Abedzadeh were jumping over the Australian stars and showed great fighting spirit in front of the 85,000 fans at MGC.

Led by young strikers Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell, the Socceroos spent the entire first half laying siege to the Iranian goal. With Stan Lazaridis and Robbie Slater making inroads on the flanks, and Aurelio Vidmar pushing forward from midfield, it seemed an Aussie avalanche was inevitable.

The nation will never forget Abedzadeh’s smile during the game while the match could be chaotic for Iran. But the Captain kept the score level with some inspired goalkeeping.

The Iran and Persepolis legend turns 55 today.

His son, Amir Abedzadeh, who currently plays for Portuguese club Marítimo, is one of Iran’s goalkeepers in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Amir always says that his father is his role model and it’s completely true.

Ahmadreza Abedzadeh was a member of Iran national football team in the "Mother of All Games", where the Persians defeated their old foes USA 2-1 at the elegant Stade de Gerland in Lyon.

As a Persepolis goalkeeper, Abedzadeh won four titles with the Reds in Iran football league but he had already claimed a domestic title with Persepolis archrivals Esteghlal as well as 1991 Asian Club Championship title with the Blues.

Abedzadeh had previously stolen the show in the 1990 Asian Games, helping Iran win the gold medal in Beijing after 16 years. Two years before, he saved three penalties in the 1988 AFC Asian Cup third-place match against China and sent the Iranians home with a medal.

Abedzadeh will stay in Iranians’ heart forever.

Happy birthday to you, the Legend.

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