Match Preview – India take on Iran in their first game of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup

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India vs Iran

Indian women’s football team will begin their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 campaign against Iran at the DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai on Thursday, 20th January. The Islamic Republic of Iran is making its debut at the continental stage, having played its first international match in 2005. While India has already appeared on eight previous editions, the last appearance being in 2003.

Let’s have a look at the preview of the match between India and Iran which is supposed to kick off at 7:30 PM IST. Below are a detailed analysis of the past records, probable lineup, and more.

INDIA NATIONAL TEAM SQUAD

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IRAN NATIONAL TEAM SQUAD

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HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD

India Wins: 2

Iran Wins: 1

India and Iran have faced each other three times in the past, with no results ending in a stalemate. The Blue Tigresses have been the dominating side, with two wins. The two teams first met during the Asian Cup Qualifiers in 2008, India winning at home 3-1 and Iran winning the return leg 4-1. When they met again in the Women’s Gold Cup hosted by India in 2019, the home side took all points, winning 1-0 courtesy of an Anju Tamang goal in the 48th minute.

Both teams have scored five goals each against the other and India will begin the game as favorites. The hosts are currently ranked 55th, while Iran remains in 70th.

PROBABLE STARTING LINEUP

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Senior custodian Aditi Chauhan will be organizing her team well from under the bar.

At the back, Dalima Chhibber and Sanju Yadav will be expected to burn the grass on the right and left sides of the pitch respectively, with Sweety Devi and captain Ashalata Devi adding solidity centrally.

In the middle of the park, Indumathi Kathiresan and Anju Tamang will be the screens sitting just ahead of India’s defense, helped by Kamala Devi, who will act as the midfield link.

India will hope Manisha Kalyan, Dangmei Grace, or Pyari Xaxa open the scoring with the help of the midfielders who will look to add pace and creativity, feeding off the strikers from wide areas.

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Regular goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei will be up against Maryam Yektaei. Koudaei can be expected to be given the nod, after her heroics in the penalty shootout against Jordan that booked Iran’s ticket.

Centrally, it will be down to Melika Motevallitaher and Behnaz Taherkhani to keep things tight. Accompanying them defensively will be Melika Mohammadi on the right and Ghazaleh Banitalebi on the left.

Zahra Alishah is expected to play a more defensive role in central midfield in a double pivot with Sara Zohrabinia, who will be expected to create and contribute to link-up play. On the right-wing will be Samaneh Chahkandi, one of Iran’s most speedy and skilled players. Flanking the other side would be Sara Ghomimarzdashti, another able dribbler.

With this pair of strikers Negin Zandi and Hajar Ashrafi Varnosfaderani, Iran will have loads of creativity and speed up top. Given the creative abilities of Hajar Ashrafi, she can also be expected to play just off Hajar and allow the youngster to run at defenses with her pace.

EXCERPTS FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE

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Thomas Dennerby: “The Iran game is going to be tough. We know that they are fighters with a strong defense, playing a low block which will be a challenge for us to score. But, I am confident we will be able to create chances. We need to perform well to win.”

Maryam Irandoost: “Despite our lack of experience, the team is motivated and works hard. We have reached this level and we are ready. We have analyzed the Indian team and are aware that they are strong and fast. The opener is one for everyone to look forward to.”

MATCH DETAILS AND TELECAST

Match Date – 20th January 2021 (Thursday)
Time – 19:30 IST
Venue – DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
How to watch – Eurosport (on Television), Jio TV (live stream)

IFTWC’s MATCH PREDICTION

India will have the upper hand in the match. India has been preparing for the tournament for a long time with numerous exposure tours and friendlies. Iran might have to suffer in the match if they don’t perform to their best. We can expect a great match. IFTWC predicts a 2-0 win for India.

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