Qatar holds Iran to 0-0 in World Cup qualifier
Qatar survived an onslaught from Iran to secure a well-earned
0-0 draw in an Asian World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Iran, a favorite to advance to the 2014 finals in Brazil, was by
far the better side but its attack couldn’t turn the bulk of
possession and good chances into goals thanks in part to Qatar
goalkeeper Qasem Burhan. It has scored only once in its first two
Group A matches.
In the first half, Iran captain Javad Nekonam hit the crossbar
in the 30th minute while Qatar’s naturalized Brazilian defender
Marcone was denied by goalkeeper Mahdi Rahmati 10 minutes before
Iran’s best chance in the second half came in stoppage time when
a free kick from just outside the area by substitute Ashkan Dejagah
just flew over the goal.
”It was difficult as I had expected. But it was a game that
moved only in one direction: Towards the Qatar goal,” Iran coach
Carlos Queiroz said. ”But, despite all attempts, we couldn’t
score. Our inability to find the target cost us two points. We
played the entire 90 minutes with full concentration, never
allowing the rivals any space. Our goalkeeper was tested only once,
in the first half.”
Qatar coach Paulo Autuori praised his players for bouncing back
after a 4-1 defeat to South Korea last week.
”Congratulations to our players. The way we reacted after the
defeat against South Korea proved the players’ mental strength,”
he said. ”The presence of a 100,000-strong vociferous crowd made
it even more difficult, but we showed we’ve the capability to
withstand all those pressures.”
Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 World Cup, is level with Iran
on four points in Group A, two points behind leader South