Tasnim - Iran U-18 football team was defeated against Zenit Petersburg U-18 at the opening match of the 17th edition of Granatkin Memorial.
The Iranian team lost to its Russian rival 2-1 Monday night.
Iran has been drawn in Group D along with host Zenit Petersburg, Moldova, and Slovenia.
Abbas Chamanian’s boys will meet Slovenia on Wednesday and Moldova on Friday respectively.
The traditional International Youth Football Tournament is underway on January 8-21, 2017 in Saint Petersburg commemorating the first FIFA Vice-President Valentin Granatkin.
All the teams were divided into four groups as follows:
Group А: Tajikistan, Greece, Bulgaria, Estonia
Group В: Latvia, Belarus, Russia, India
Group С: Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Slovakia, Kazakhstan
Group D: Moldova, Slovenia, Zenit Petersburg, Iran
Best players: Boitsov, Gholamzade
Post match comments
Vladimir Kazachionok, Head coach of team St. Petersburg:
– It’s always great to start the tournament with a win. The match was not easy. Iran is a very well-organized team that has good players.
– Why did the team of St. Petersburg make many mistakes today?
– Six players of this team are representing the team of Russia here and another two players went for the mid-season camp with FC Zenit. It’s difficult to fulfill these empty spots.
– How did you prepare for this tournament? And what do you think about the opponents?
– Moldova is a tough team to beat. Slovenia outplayed us last year, and our attitude to this team is obvious. We’ll try to win these upcoming matches. Nowadays, everyone knows how to defend, whereas there’s a clear lack of good forwards skillful to crack opposing defense. We had not known Iran before. The majority of our players do not have a rich international practice. The Granatkin Memorial may become the brightest memory for some of our players from St. Petersburg in their football career.
– You were saying you lacked forwards, but the application list of St. Petersburg has mostly attacking players…
– It’s not easy to make you happy (smiling)! We simply want quantity to grow into quality.
– How is Ruslan Kazakov feeling, the author of the winning goal?
– He got injured scoring that goal. But I think he will recover by the next match. The injury is not that serious. We decided to be on the safe side and to substitute him.
– You are known for paying much attention to discipline during the game. Were there a lot of players who did not follow the game plan?
– Yes, we’ve a number of such players. In fact, we managed to get through the opposing defense quite often, but we could not score. Also we were making lots of mistakes in the second half.
Abas Chamanian, Head coach of team Iran:
– I’d like to thank the organizers for a wonderful well prepared tournament and, of course, let me congratulate team St. Petersburg on a win. This is an organized team, and they played really well today. This was the first match for us on the tournament. We were nervous and we were not ready to cope with such an atmosphere here. I hope that having analyzed our mistakes we shall show better play in the upcoming matches of the group stage.
– Your players seemed to get tired by the 60th minute. Was this the case? Could this be caused by adaptation or, for instance, age difference?
– There’re different reasons. We arrived at Saint Petersburg just yesterday late in the evening. We got to sleep late and it’s clear we had no chance to recover or arrange a quality preparation for the game.
– Why did you bring the players who are younger than other participants?
– Many players will be taking part in the Youth World Cup this year, and we want to give them an opportunity to gain experience.
– Your team is always showing bright play so much liked by the fans. Why are you coming to St. Petersburg so rarely?
– It just happened that over several years our players were significantly younger than the footballers who take part in this tournament. Another reason is that we didn’t have enough time to prepare for the Youth World Cup.
– Both teams were playing rough today…
– I can speak for my own team. We had no choice. As you noticed, we are younger than our counterparts from St. Petersburg, and our physical conditions are not that great. Some aggression helped us to show decent play. Let me repeat that our main goal is prepare for the World Cup. We have a preparation plan that includes big events like the Cup of Asia and the Granatkin Memorial.