Iran held Japan to a 3-3 draw as the first day of the U-22 Asian Cup ended. Both are now tied at the second position of the group after Australia who won 1-0 versus Kuwait last Sunday. Mired with the loss of eight key players, suspensions and injuries and adjusting to a new head coach, Iran showed determination inside the field versus the young team of Japanese players, which were mostly members of their U-20 squad preparing for the next Olympics.
Iran dominated the match early with a seventh minute goal by Behnam Barzay which Japan quickly countered with a goal from Riki Harakawa that beat Iran’s number one goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. Iran continued to take shots but were unfortunate with Japan’s goalkeeper Masatoshi Kushibiki’s continued clearance of the attempts coming his way. Japan broke the draw with a 30th minute goal from Takuma Asanao.
The second half proved to be more promising for Iran when Kaveh Rezaei was awarded a penalty kick by referee Fahad Al Marri of Qatar four minutes after the half time break, which he converted effortlessly. Iran went on a 2-goal lead against Japan with Rezaei’s leftie, which hit the upper left corner of the goal at the 55th minute of the match. Shoya Nakajima’s kick that curved when it went inside the 66th minute, equalized the ground for Japan and while attempts and pressure were given on both teams, the match ended with a 3-3 draw.
[via Persian Football]