Friday, December 7, 2007

Sepahan advance to the FIFA Club World Cup quarter-finals

Sepahan advance to the FIFA Club World Cup quarter-finals.
Iranian side Sepahan beat New Zealand outfit Waitakere United 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup.

Iraq-born striker Emad Mohammed got Sepahan off to a dream start, scoring twice inside the opening four minutes to set up a comfortable win for the Iranians.

Sepahan were recently defeated in the 2007 AFC Champions League Final by J-League side Urawa Reds, but their win here sets up a rematch with Urawa just a month after the west Asian team lost to the Reds in their continental decider.

Sepahan made light work of semi-professionals Waitakere, with Emad Mohammed heading home the opener after Waitakere goalkeeper Simon Eaddy could only parry Jaba Mujiri's shot.

Sixty seconds later Mohammed produced a neat finish to flick the ball passed Eaddy with the Waitakere defence caught square, although there was a suspicion of handball in the build-up to the goal.

After totally dominating the first half the onslaught continued immediately after the restart, as forty-nine minutes in Sepahan midfielder Abdul Abu Al Hail hit an innocuous looking drive that was fumbled into the net by the hapless Eaddy.

With the majority of the 25,000 strong crowd voicing their support for underdogs Waitakere, the New Zealand side managed to pull a goal back after seventy-four minutes, with ex-Leeds United defender Danny Hay causing confusion inside the six yard box, although the goal was later credited as an own-goal by defender Hadi Aghily.

Waitakere produced their best spell in the final ten minutes of the match, but Sepahan managed to hang on to book a showdown with Urawa at Toyota Stadium on December 10.

After the match Waitakere coach Chris Milicich blasted his side for their poor defending, conceding that "stupid goals" had cost his team dearly.

Sepahan coach Luka Bonacic claimed that his side was looking forward to their rematch with Urawa, a team that Bonacic claimed to respect, but one that the Croatian feels is vulnerable after Urawa recently reliquished both their Emperor's Cup and J-League crowns within the space of a week.

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1 comment:

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