Jan 22, 2019, 4:40 PM
News Code: 83180271
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Beiranvand reveals inspiration behind penalty heroics

Tehran, Jan 22, IRNA - Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand revealed that striker Sardar Azmoun’s advice and a steely determination not to let his country down were behind his remarkable penalty save in Sunday’s Round of 16 win over Oman at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

After Azmoun had been caught on camera suggesting which way Beiranvand should dive, the Persepolis custodian’s outstretched right-hand repelled Ahmed Al Mahaijri’s spot-kick in the opening moments of the game which saw Iran go through to the quarterfinals, the-afc.com reported.

Having already saved a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo at last year’s FIFA World Cup, Beiranvand’s heroics in the UAE only added to his burgeoning reputation, with the 26-year-old saying that his primary aim when facing Al Mahaijri was not to let his country down.

“I was only thinking about the people of Iran,” he declared.

“I really wanted to make them happy, because when you get to this stage, everyone watches the game. It’s just the one game, if you lose it, you’re eliminated.

“I knew people would be praying, and all I could do was focus. Thankfully, I was able to help my team, and make my people happy.

“Sardar told me [which way to go]. Although I had already made up my mind prior to that. I had decided and then Sardar told me, so I thought it had to mean something.”

The 2-0 victory saw Iran register a fourth successive clean sheet in the tournament.

“The penalty happened very early on, but thankfully it wasn’t converted so we continued without conceding. We’re a team that is guaranteed to win if we don’t concede,” he said.

“It’s one of the characteristics of Team Melli, don’t concede and we will go no and win the game, it has been like this so far.”

Team spirit

After seeing his side qualify for the quarterfinals, Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz was quick to praise the team spirit he believes played a major part in the success.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s smart finish and an Ashkan Dejagah spot-kick – both in the first half – helped secure Iran’s passage through to the last eight.

While grateful for his towering custodian’s contribution, Queiroz believes the unwavering unity which exists within the Iranian squad was, however, just as decisive a factor.

“It was a very good and competitive game, although I think it is the first time in my life that I have seen a team concede a penalty so early on. It was a great save from Beiranvand that kept us in the game,” declared the Portuguese tactician.

“When a player performs well [such as Alireza did], it gives you more confidence. The early save undoubtedly helped us maintain our clean sheet, but all the players played their part in the victory.

“Every player in the team knows their role and they know their responsibilities, they are always there at the right moment to support their teammates. Everyone plays for the team.”

Iran is now set to face China in the last eight, with Queiroz, who is expecting another tough test, calling on his charges to develop a far more ruthless streak in the final third.

“We know how much the China team has progressed, especially under [head coach] Marcello Lippi. It will be another difficult game, as will all the matches going forward.'

“We cannot waste chances like we did against Oman, we must play with a killer instinct and we need to put the ball in the net,” he said.

“In knockout football it is important to kill the game early, it gives you a tremendous advantage. The most important thing for the next game is to be calmer, to be smarter.”

Source: Iran Daily


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