Iran, Thailand record big wins (May 23 2006)

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan: Asian futsal kingpins Iran made it two in a row after destroying Indonesia 20-1 on the second day of the AFC Futsal Championship even as Thailand, their main challengers for the top spot from Group D, routed Turkmenistan 8-1.

Thailand’s victory gave them a share of the lead (six points) though they are way behind leaders Iran on goals record. Team Melli need a draw when they meet the Thais on Tuesday but have every reason to be wary of the ASEAN powerhouse. After all, it was Thailand who exposed the chinks in Iran’s armour in the previous edition in Vietnam after holding the latter to their first ever draw (3-3) in the history of the tournament.

Vahid Shamsaee got a roasting in the Iranian press for not doing enough in the first match which Iran won 14-0 and the veteran replied to the criticism with seven goals and created seven more for good measure. It was a mismatch of massive proportions as Iran flattened their hapless rivals.

If Shamsaee (17, 18, 23, 25, 32, 33, 40) was in an arrogant mood, his teammates were not too far behind with Mohsin Zarei (17,19, 24, 36), Mohammed Hashemzadeh (20), Kazem Teribadi (4, 21, 25), Majid Latifi (11), Majed Raise (26, 29), Majid Tikdhrine (27) and Masoud Daheshwar (40) crowding the scoresheet. No chance to score was spurned by the seven-time Asian champions.

The scoreline might appear flattering to some but Iran’s demanding coach Jurandir Dutra felt otherwise. “We didn’t play so well as yesterday,” said Dutra. “Yesterday we did not let our opponents create a lot of chances but today Indonesia had many opportunities to score. We started a bit slowly but after ten minutes we began to move faster.”

Dutra stressed the need for treating Thailand with respect in tomorrow’s crunch match. “Thailand’s level is higher than that of the other teams and we know that they need to beat us to qualify. We are comfortable as we need just a draw.”

The coach threw his support behind star player Shamsaee. “I don’t share your opinion (about Shamsaee). He scored seven and created seven. I think it is enough.”

Thailand’s Brazilian coach Glausio also spoke about Shamsaee, who he felt was the main threat to the ASEAN team’s chances in tomorrow’s game. “If we mark Shamsaee properly, we could win.”

This was after Joe Nueangkord (three goals on 4, 22, 31 minutes) and Eakapong Suratsawang (10, 11) had powered Thailand to victory against Turkmenistan. Also getting their names on the scoresheet for the Thais were Prasert Innui (8), Panuwat Janta (14) and Sermphan Khumthinkaew (32).

“We played well today and didn’t repeat our mistakes," said Glausio. "Now I will go to bed thinking about tomorrow’s match against Iran.”