Iran defeat Mexico, face Spain in quarter-finals
Margao: Iran played a tactical game to outwit Mexico 2-1 and set up a clash with Spain in the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup on Tuesday.
Iran will now travel to Kochi for the quarter-final tie with Spain, who scored the last-minute winner in their pre- quarterfinals against France in Guwahati.
Iran exploited the rival's weak defence to score through Mohammed Sharifi (7th) and Allahyar Sayyad (11th).
Mexico though attacked from the word go and created several chances, they were either off the target or failed to surpass the rival keeper Ali Gholam Zadeh.
Mexico managed to reduce the margin in the 37th minute through Roberto De la Rosa. After Mexico were down by two goals, they played quick short passes to unsettle Iran's defence, who were playing with five defenders.
Each time Iran's defence fell apart, it was keeper Zadeh who came up with some smart saves, especially in the second half, to deny the Americans a chance to score goals.
Iran, knowing that Mexico are good in the attack, adopted a cautious approach to keep their rivals attacking moves at bay and waited for opportunities to punish Mexico's weak defence.
Mexico could have scored another goal but luck was not on their side as Jairo Torres' shot from a difficult angle off a free kick hit the left post.
Iran's Younes Delfi, who received a yellow in the 80th minute, the second in the tournament for rough tackle, will miss the quarter-final match against Spain.