I know the situation and I know that many Iranian football fans aren’t happy after a scoreless draw with neighboring rivals Iraq.
Obviously, I wanted Iran to get revenge on Iraq after what happened four years ago in the quarterfinals.
But things didn’t go to plan and once again the referee had some influence on the match as there could have been one penalty called for Iran due to handballs in the penalty area from the Iraqis.
Yet the Asian Football Confederation chose to use VAR in the knockout phase, not in the first round.
Anyway, not in the mood to talk about the shortcomings of the AFC because we all know that a book can be written about the incompetence and corruption of the AFC.
Next up for Iran is a second-round clash with Oman and this is a match that I expect to be difficult.
For some reason, Oman knows how to play well against Iran and always find ways to frustrate the Iranian footballers.
When these two teams met in the 2004 Asian Cup group phase, it was Oman that built a two-goal lead before Iran was saved by second half goals from Ali Karimi and Mohammad Nosrati.
Yes, it was a long time ago. But even during 2018 World Cup qualification, Oman outplayed Iran in Muscat as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Iran defeated Oman 2-0 in the return leg in Tehran. But the match in Abu Dhabi will be tough and Iran will need to stay focused and not get frustrated easily by time-wasting fouls.
Oman will park the bus in hopes of burning Iran on the counterattacks and this is why patience will be the key for Iran getting the victory.
Prediction: Iran 1-0 Oman
This article was originally published on nationsleaguefootball.wordpress.com