Search Engine

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ghotbi confident of winning ‘special’ match

Ghotbi confident of winning ‘special’ match Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 January 2011 04:11
Doha: Iran coach Afshin Ghotbi revealed that he always knew the three-time champions were capable of victory even after going behind in their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011™ Group D opener against rivals Iraq at Al Rayyan Stadium on Tuesday.

Team Melli secured a 2-1 victory on Tuesday despite having had to battle back from a 13th minute goal by Younus Mahmoud.

Gholam Reza Rezaei levelled the scores three minutes before the break and Iman Mobali scored the winner six minutes from time to seal the points.

And though he conceded the match was a difficult one for his side, Ghotbi had little doubt that Iran would be walking away with the three points in the bag.

"The game was complicated for us because of the rivalry between the two sides and also it was the first match of the tournament, while Iraq are the defending champions," he said.

"After going one down, I was confident that we could come back. I have experience of playing against Iraq and they are the masters of killing time so I thought that if we score before the half time then we have a chance to win.

"We started the game a little stressed and that had something to do with the mistakes that we made. Then the game became more organised and I'm sure we can play even better football in the next game."

Ghotbi dedicated the win to the victims of Sunday’s air crash in Iran, which resulted in almost 80 people losing their lives after the plane had attempted an emergency landing in the north western Iranian city of Orumiyeh.

"I would like first to dedicate this victory to the families who lost their relatives in the air crash,” added the former Perspolis coach.

“The players tried their best to get the win as a sign of condolence for those families.

“Football is only a sport and if we can do something special then we are happy about that."

Ghotbi also praised the rivalry Iran share with Iraq on the pitch and believes the desire to claim derby honours from both sides was clear to see.

"There is so much rivalry and history with the two teams," continued the 46-year-old.

"It was an emotional and a fighting game and our players managed to make a good comeback after conceding an early goal in the match."

"Whenever two neighbours play together there is always rivalry. There is big rivalry between Iran and Iraq and it has been around for a long time. It's a special one and it's fantastic to have it because this makes football special."