U17 World Cup: Iran 2 Mexico 1: El Tri capitulation paves way for Team Melli's progression to quarter-finals
Team Melli Cruise into quarter-finals of the FIFA U17 World Cup after a disastrous start for Mexico paves way for their downfall...

Iran booked a slot in the Federation International de Football Association's (FIFA) U17 World Cup, by overcoming the Mexico U17's challenge at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, Fatorda, Goa, on Tuesday, 17th October. 

Mohammad Sharifi (4') converted an early penalty before Allahyar Sayyad gave Iran a two-goal cushion in the 11th minute. The deficit was reduced by Mexico's Roberto de la Rosa in the 37th minute but a cat and mouse encounter would ensue, with the Iranians ultimately ending up the big winners on a hugely disappointing night for the North Americans, who see their winless tenure at the World Cup all but ended.  

Abbas Chamanian made three changes to his first XI. Majid Nasiri, Mohammad Sharifi and Mohammad Ghaderi started in place of Amir Esmaeil Zadeh, Sobhan Khaghani and the suspended Mohammad Ghobeishavi. For Mexico, Mario Arteaga brought in Daniel Lopez and Luis Gamiz in place of Marco Ruiz and Andres Perez from the 0-0 draw against Chile in Guwahati.

The North Americans were getting themselves trapped in off-side positions early on, but it was Iran who took the lead through a penalty after Adrian Vazquez was guilty of bringing down Ghaderi. Sharifi converted from the spot. Iran's lead was soon doubled when Sayyad made the best of a defensive miscommunication between Mexico defenders Carlos Rolbles and Luis Olivas who were expecting Cesar Lopez to come for the ball. With the goalkeeper off his line and Ali Gholam Zadeh's goalkick from the other side dropping in no man's land, the Iran striker pounced on the opportunity to flick it into the back of the net.

Looking comfortable on the ball for a while, Jairo Torres decided to have a go from distance that was averted for a corner by Gholam Zadeh though it appeared to be steering wide of the goal in the 29th minute. Mexico were almost punished for their lapse in concentration as Delfi stole the ball from Robles and squared a cross from the right flank. However, Luis Gamiz was able to fall back in time to effect the clearance in front of Sayyad.

The El Tri managed to pull on back in the 37th minute. De la Rosa's cross from the left was cut back from the far side by Lopez for Diego Lainez's shot from inside the box to be saved by Gholam Zadeh. However, The player who initiated the move found himself at the right place to slot in the rebound into the left bottom corner.

Iran resumed the second half with some slick and quick passing and almost bagged their third goal in the 54th minute as Sayyad's shot from Delfi's pass was blocked by Cesar Lopez, while Lainez's attempt on the other side came off the side netting.

The front trident of Amirhossein Hosseinzadeh, Delfi and Sayyad were at it once again in the 64th minute but the Mexico goalkeeper once again blocked Sayyad's shot at goal. Out of no where, there could have been an equaliser in the 68th minute but Torres' free-kick came crashing off the left post and the Iranian defense somehow managed to scramble away the ball from the danger area.

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Delfi had a go at goal before being replaced in the 86th minute, though his right-footed shot from Sayyad's pass was slightly wide of the right post. Sayyad meanwhile continued with his incredible work rate on the left wing. After doing all the hard work and drawing the goalkeeper towards him, he had set up Amir Khoda Moradi right across the face of goal. However, the Iran substitute took too long on the ball and his eventual shot was blocked by the rival defense.

Taking things in his own hands there on, Sayyad did well to take Majid Nasiri's through ball into the centre of the box but only for Cesar to pull off a save from close distance. The match ended 2-1 to Team Melli, who will now face Spain in the quarter-finals of the U17 World Cup.

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