Match № 18
The match № 18, group A, fifth tournament day
I. R. IRAN – SLOVAKIA 1:2 (1:2)
January 7th, 2014, St. Petersburg, Peterburgsky SCC, 300 spectators
Referees: Nikolay Voloshin, Aleksey Manin, Denis Savin
I. R. Iran: Amini, Salimi, Hosseini (c), Sarlak, Aghaei, Bazaj, Seyyedi, Haghnazari, Moharrami, Najarian, Hashemi (Sohrabian, 46)
Head coach: Ali Dousti Mehr
Slovakia: Bajza, Vavro, Slaninka (Rajnik, 86), Vodezcky (Lovas, 90), Kacher (Siplak, 90), Gric, Shpalek (Vlchek, 89), Berejny, Kupec, Haraslin (c), Chvatal (Kotrik, 67)
Head coach: Milan Malatinsky
Goals: Haraslin (3, 20, pen.), Najarian (8)
Yellow cards: Salimi (41), Aghaei (79), Kacher (79)
Best players: Armin Sohrabian, Denis Vavro
After match comments
Head coach of the team I. R. Iran Dousti Mehr Ali:
– I congratulate team of Slovakia with deserved victory. Their players showed their best during the game, played organized in the defense and made quick attacks. We couldn't transfer our domination into the goal.
– Your team had several good distant kicks in the first half. Why did you stop using it in the second half and preferred to come to penalty area where the defense was much more solid?
– Slovakian team played very compact, closed all areas and made hazards even for distant kicks. That is why we wanted to play wider, use our wings more often and send the ball from sides to the penalty area. But our opponent had a well-organized defense and stopped all our attempts. But I should note also the referee's mistakes. Through his faults the penalty kick to our gate wasn't fair and other time the penalty kick can be pointed to our favor.
– Football in Iran is improving. Do your players want to play for European clubs and championships?
– For sure, they want it. That is why we come to different tournaments, as this one, in order to show our players. We thank the organizers for this possibility.
– Are the players, who collided with their heads, all right now?
– Yes, everything is all right. Our player feels good.
Head coach of the team Slovakia Milan Malatinsky:
– We enjoyed very much playing against Iran. It's a good team, they are very good players and it was difficult to play one to one against them. We had to provide constant support to each other. But we managed to score and we are happy to win such a strong team. We were not allowed to play as we used to, so it was quite hard for us. The Iranians are very quick and good at managing the ball. So we decided to concentrate on defense trying to make quick counterattacks.
– After quite an early goal you turned to defensive strategy and passed the initiative to the opponent. Was it your tactics or it was the Iranians who made you play in defense? You paid for it with the missed goal.
– We just had no opportunity to play open football. The Iranians are very quick, they were pressing us in all the zones, so our players sometimes didn't have time to take the right decision. We didn't pass the initiative, we just couldn't oppose. But when we were able to run forward we created dangerous moments one of them was finished with the penalty kick.
– By the way, your player made quite a risky penalty kick. Was it his own decision?
– He made a penalty kick in Panenka style, thus paying tribute to the Czechoslovak player. But this was his decision. I'm glad he has scored.
– In the end of the match when your players ran in counterattack three to one you asked one of the forwards to play by himself. But if he made a pass they would have come out two to one and make score 3:1, so the ending of the game would be less nervous. Why did you decide he had to strike himself?
– As you've fairly mentioned the ending was quite nervous and I wanted him to hold the ball and run out the clock a bit. I wanted him to do something. That's why I shouted "By yourself!" Though now I understand that I had to give another advice. But that's what has happened. The nerves were strained to the full, we were eager to win, so I gave not quite correct command. As for the moment of collision, I haven't come to the change room yet, but hope it is not injury and our player will be able to play next match.