AFC - Islamic Republic of Iran’s 5-2 win over Bahrain and Japan finishing as the best second-placed side in the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Malaysia 2017 Group Stage completed the lineup for the semi-finals which will take place in Kuala Terengganu on Friday.
Iran’s fourth straight victory against the Bahrainis in Group A on Wednesday booked their semi-final match against Japan, who earlier lost to eventual Group C winners the United Arab Emirates 5-4.
The UAE will in the other semi-final play surprise package Lebanon who handed defending champions Oman a 4-3 upset in Group B’s last game.
Bahrain strongly opened the account through a hard strike by Abdulla Al Abdulla during a melee on four minutes before keeper Sayed Abbas delivered an impressive strike from his post into Iran’s goal to double their advantage.
Iran then almost cut the deficit when a Mohammadali Mokhtari volley hit the bar and then cut the deficit they did when skipper Mohammad Ahmadzadeh struck home a free-kick before the buzzer.
It is then Iran’s turn to make the keeper’s goal through Saleh Mohamed’s unstoppable strike from his area at the restart before Iran took over the lead with Ahmadzadeh’s second after a neat interplay.
Al Abdulla then came close to Bahrain’s third but his header went sailing before Iran added to their tally with a beautiful Seyed Nazem volley.
Iran keeper Syed Hosseini then gave Bahrain a scare as his end-to-end throw caught his opposite number unawares but it hit the woodwork as the second period ended.
Mohamed Ashoor then opened the third period with a mighty bicycle kick but missed as the Bahrainis desperately looked to cut their deficit.
Mohamadali Mokhtari’s short-range strike then narrowly missed before his header later scored Iran’s fifth to put the closely fought match to bed.
The top three finishers at the AFC Beach Soccer Championship will represent Asia at the 2017 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in in Nassau, Bahamas from April 27 to May 7.