Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Iran 1 Angola 1

Iran ended Angola's slim hopes of qualifying from Group D, as they held the African side to a 1-1 draw in Leipzig on Wednesday, 21 June 2006. Angola scored the first goal of their short World Cup history but a 1-1 draw with Iran in their final Group D match signalled the end of their remarkable journey in Germany. The southern African nation appearing in their first World Cup had needed to win by three clear goals and hope that Group D rivals Mexico lost to Portugal.The first half finished with Iran putting most of the pressure on Angola as if they were the one fighting for something. There were many injuries and exchanges on both half and both teams were playing with there better players on the beanch. Iran's Karimi and Golmohammadi did not play at all and Hashemnia and Kaibi where replaced in the second half. The scores were 0-0 until the 60th minute. The historic goal from the head of Flavio, who met an inch-perfect cross from Ze Kalanga powerfully on the hour mark, giving Iranian goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour little chance. Iran, fighting to avoid a third consecutive defeat, struck back when Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh outjumped the Angolan defence from a corner to equalise with a well-placed header on 75 minutes. Iran's veteran striker Ali Daei should have added to his world record tally of 109 international goals but his first-half header from close range was woefully misdirected even though he was completely unmarked.
Angola's hopes suffered an early setback when Mateus, who had ballooned the ball over the bar after eight minutes, had to be stretchered off the pitch after apparently injuring his arm as he slipped and became entangled with an Iranian defender. But the biggest loss came when Angola's captain Akwa had to be substituted just minutes into the second half after suffering a knock.
Just as he had done against Mexico, Joao Ricardo kept his side in the game, leaping to save low shots from Andranik Teymourian and Rasoul Khatibi. Angola had lived dangerously in the first period when Vahid Hashemian's header from a corner was cleared off the goalline by Mendonca's hip and Joao Ricardo also punched away a well-directed Daei free kick after 20 minutes. Over all, the match was very physical with many injuries and if any of the teams had the chance to qualify for the next round they would have missed most of their good players anyway. The game ended with the result of 1-1 and both teams say fairwell to Germany.