Iran 4-0 Australia

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the-afc.com

Dubai: Iran ensured direct entry to the next edition of the tournament following a hard-fought 4-0 win over Australia in the AFC Futsal Championship UAE 2012 third-place playoff on Friday.

Australia defended resolutely, with goalkeeper Peter Spathis a particular source of frustration for the Iranians, until the infinitely more experienced Iranians took advantage of the flagging Futsalroos with four unanswered goals in the last four minutes.

Iran went into the match looking to cast aside some of the disappointment of being denied the chance to claim the coveted trophy for an 11th time in 12 competitions by Thailand and achieve the victory at the Al Wasl Stadium that would see them avoid having to play a qualifying campaign for the 2014 AFC Futsal Championship.

Australia meanwhile had already exceeded expectations when they defeated Kuwait 3-2 after extra-time of their quarter-final to book a place in November’s 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup and were out to upset the odds once again and avenge their 9-0 drubbing in the final Group C match.

In that game, the ten-time champions were 4-0 up at the break but this time around a combination of some superb keeping from Peter Spathis and formidable shot-blocking from the Futsalroos backline saw the first-half finish goalless.

Australia were not without their chances in the first-half and in the opening five minutes of the second period twice tested Iran keeper Mostafa Nazari as the former champions saw glimpses of being vulnerable on the counterattack.

Iran continued to dominate possession but they struggled to find a way past Spathis and when they did beat the Aussie keeper with eight minutes remaining Dean Lockhart was on hand to block the ball on the line.

But with four minutes 31 seconds left the flagging Futsalroos were beaten when Javad Asgharimoghaddami intercepted an attempted clearance from Gregory Giovenali to round Spathis and roll the ball into the empty net.

A minute later Spathis was beaten for a second time swift break from the Iran half culminated with Mohammad Taheri confidently sweeping the ball home after being teed up by Mohammad Keshavaraz.

Australia attempted to get back into the game with the power play but the move backfired on the Futsalroos with Asgharimoghaddami scoring into the unguarded net from deep inside his own half before Asian futsal icon Vahid Shamsaee put the gloss on the win with number in the dying seconds.

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