The second round had just begun for Iran. In fact, it had only been barely a minute and disaster struck as a defensive breakdown led to a penalty for Oman.
An early lead for Oman would have really been tough on Iran, knowing that it heavily relies on game script.
Ahmed Kano of Oman stepped up with no hesitation but saw his spot kick saved by a diving Alireza Beiranvand.
Kano felt confident taking the kick, but we all know he probably had that image in his head of Beiranvand stopping Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty at the 2018 World Cup.
What is even more interesting in my opinion is that Sardar Azmoun was seen signaling to Beiranvand where Kano would shoot.
But no matter what people will speculate about, the fact is that Alireza Beiranvand continues to show why he is one of the best keepers ever to suit for Team Melli, the national team of Iran.
I had a good feeling that Iran would snap out of it after Beiranvand saved the penalty and it was great to see Alireza Jahanbakhsh take advantage of a defensive blunder to put Iran in the lead.
Later in the first half it was Ashkan Dejagah who gave Iran an insurance goal when he converted from the penalty spot to make it 2-0.
Iran moves on to the Asian Cup quarterfinals to face China on 24 January in Abu Dhabi.
China is coming off a 2-1 win over Thailand and I will be quick to say that this will be another tough match for Iran.
But the truth is that Iran is the better team and must prevail over China.
The pressure will be on Iran, but it makes sense because Iran is one of the favorites to win the 2019 Asian Cup.
Despite Iran’s win over Oman, there were times when the Iranians looked shaky on defense.
Adjustments need to be made, but not with Iran’s confidence.
Iran and China are familiar with one another after having met two times during the final round of 2018 World Cup qualification.
The first leg in China ended scoreless and the return leg in Tehran finished in a 1-0 win for Iran.
China’s defense has improved under Italian manager Marcello Lippi, but the Iranians know they must take advantage of their opportunities to come out on top.
Prediction: Iran 2-0 China
This article was originally published on nationsleaguefootball.wordpress.com