(IranSportsPress.com-AFC)- Sanaye Giti Pasand clinched their spot in the final of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Vietnam 2017 after beating Qatar’s Al Rayyan 4-2 in the semi-finals on Friday.
With Thailand’s Bluewave Chonburi awaiting the winners, both sides came into the match eager to create history – Al Rayyan hoping to book their first-ever appearance in the competition’s final, an achievement matched just once in Qatar’s history, and Giti Pasand looking to become the first side from the Islamic Republic of Iran to reach their third final.
It took Giti Pasand just three minutes to demonstrate their class, the Iranians taking the lead when Ahmad Esmaeilpour timed his leap to perfection to connect with Ali Asghar’s inch-perfect cross with a fine header.
After a spell of incessant pressure, the incisive Iranians then doubled their lead through Abolghasem Orouji who did well to waltz past Mohammad Taheri before dispatching a left-footed low drive, two minutes later.
In what was becoming one-way traffic in favour of the Iranians; Asghar coming close as he twisted and turned before seeing his shot saved by Abdulrahman Mohsin after Orouji timed his pass to perfection.
Having secured a two-goal cushion, the Iranians resorted to the counter attack approach, a tactic which was to prove costly as it paved the way for Al Rayyan to push further forward. The Qataris duly came close to narrowing the gap when Deigo Costa fed the ball onto the path of Lucas Oliveira only to be denied by the strong left hand of custodian Sepehr Mohammadi.
The well crafted attack was a sign of things to come as Al Rayyan pulled one back on 15 minutes, with Diego and Lucas Oliveira combining well to set up an unmarked Flavio Barreto Arantes on Giti Pasand’s far post for simple tap-in.
The Qataris were then thrown a lifeline when Vitor Hugo Da Silva was sent off for an infringement. Al Rayyan took full advantage of the numerical advantage to snatch the equaliser courtesy of Flavio again, the Brazilian-born forward powering home in the 18th minute.
Al Rayyan’s celebrations were short-lived though, as Giti Pasand replied almost immediately, Esmaeilpour unleashing a thunderous long-range effort to restore his side’s lead heading into the break.
The restart saw the game increase in tempo with both sides eager establish an early advantage. Mohammadi was arguably the busier of the two keepers, showcasing his agility to deny early attempts from Diego and Lucas.
Giti Pasand then came agonisingly close to extending their lead at the midway mark after a swift interchange between Esmaeilpour and Asfghar set the latter through on goal but his clever clip went gazing over the crossbar.
With time running out, the Qataris took the gamble of deploying the power play with five minutes remaining, Mohammadi again emerging the saviour, denying Lucas in the closing minutes. With virtually the last kick of the match, Giti Pasand were then awarded an unobstructed free-kick after Al Rayyan committed six accumulative fouls, Ali Asghar duly stepping up to seal the Iranians’ passage into the final.