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Fans Treated To Exciting Draw (23/07/2011)

Day 1, Match 1 (23/07-2011)

Sri Lanka vs Iran

Half-time score: 1-0

Full-time score: 2-2


Fans Treated To Exciting Draw

By Eddie dos Passos/HKHA

The encounter between Sri Lanka and Iran turned out to be an exciting wrestling match

with both teams producing four goals between them.

Iran then went on to produce a deserved equalizer coming in the dying minute of the game.


The sheer intensity of the clash also produced a bevy of cards and kept umpires Abdullah from Oman

and Amin Aideus of Singapore busy as they meted out six green and three yellow cards between them.

The high octane match was all the more interesting when you learn that Iran, play their game back home

confined to the indoor variety with hardly any international competition played at all.

Added to the formula, is the fact that Iran having been training and playing warm-up matches, were

confined to honing their skills and training practice playing on a sand-based pitch.

Iran assistant coach Abolfazl Yousefi was pleased with the outcome and hoped that his side

would improve in the coming days.

“I am happy with the result,” he said. “I know we can do better but we only play indoor and this

is a fairly new (outdoor grass pitch) experience for many of our players,” he said.

Affecting Iran’s game can also be pointed to their ill-prepared equipment from shoes to their sticks as they

slipped and fell all over the King’s Park pitch as they tried to stem the fast attacking Sri Lankan side, whose

speedy runs kept Iran at bay for the most part of the game in the initial stages.

The ever pressing Sri Lankan pressure eventually began to pay dividends when Damith Bandara opened the

account through a 25th minute penalty corner for the Island state as they headed into the break on a slender 1-0 lead.

By this time, Sri Lanka earned the first of four cards when Geemal Dias was given a green two minutes earlier and then

was sinned bin in the 55th minute.

But Iran’s equally quick counter-offensives began to earn them dividends as they slowly but surely hacked away

at the Sri Lankan territory to see them level the match through Navid Taherirad, who then received a yellow a minute later.


Iran went on to collect five cards _ two going to Hamid Noraniyan for a green, 33rd and a yellow, 49th with captain

Mohammad Karimi earning his green in the 27th minute along with Taherirad (47th) and Mahdi Ansaripour

collecting a green (59th).   

Sri Lanka then thought they had the match all wrapped up when they scored two minutes from time from a

well-taken penalty corner through their captain Muditha Marapana for a short-lived 2-1 lead before Iran

scored their stunning equalizer to break Sri Lankan hearts.

Sri Lankan coach Leelananda Ittapana was none too pleased with the way his boys were playing.

“During the game, our ball possession was not up to standard, we have to do a lot more if we want

to be a challenge to other teams,” said Ittapana.

“Iran is not a bad team and their upper body strength is good and caused us a lot of problems,” he said.

Sri Lanka next faces Pool B leaders Chinese Taipei on Monday evening (6pm) while Hong Kong faces

Iran at 8pm with both matches also at King’s Park.