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AFC/OFC Challenge Cup stays in Asia

OFC: A young and experimental New Zealand All Whites squad went down 3-0 to Iran in the second AFC/OFC Challenge Cup, played on 12 October (local time). But for coach Mick Waitt, there were some positive individual performances and the chance to blood some of the newcomers proved beneficial.

The Oceania representatives performed bravely in front of a crowd of 40,000 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, but the experience of Iran and their added home advantage proved too much in the end.

Facing a match-hardened team coming off two tough Asian Cup qualifying matches in the past month compared to New Zealand’s last international outing at the Confederations Cup back in June, the All Whites were always going to be up against it with a new-look squad, but they met the challenge head on.

Three All Whites made their international debuts and acquitted themselves well in one of the most intimidating environments in world football. Those players selected that are also eligible for the national U-23 team and who managed to take the field, got some valuable experience ahead of the OFC Olympic Qualifiers next January.

The Asian Games champions led 2-0 at the break but were held to a solitary goal to Hossein Kabi in the second half.

There was some consolation for the beaten All Whites when they were awarded the Fair Play trophy. Iran’s Ali Karimi Pashaki deservedly won the most valuable player award after scoring both of Iran’s goals in the first half.

Iran’s win made it two from three in all internationals against New Zealand after drawing 0-0 in the first match held in Auckland in 1973 and winning 2-1 five years later.

Iran’s win also meant the AFC/OFC Challenge Cup trophy remains in Asia for another two years after Japan beat Australia 3-0 in the inaugural match played in Shizuoka in August 2001. The trophy is expected to be contested again in 2005 between the 2004 OFC Nations Cup champion and the next Asian Cup champion.

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STATISTICAL REVIEW

Competition: AFC/OFC Challenge Cup

Team A: Iran (white/white/white)

Team B: New Zealand (black/black/black)

Date: 12 October, 2003 (local)

Venue: Azadi Stadium, Tehran

Kick-off time: 1535hrs (local)

Injury time: 1 minute (1st half) 3 minutes (2nd half)

Half-time result: Iran 2-0 New Zealand

Full-time result: Iran 3-0 New Zealand

Goal-scorers:

Iran: (8) Ali Karimi Pashaki 24′, 37′; (13) Hossein Kabi 67′

New Zealand: nil

Cautions: (15) Mohd Nasrati 17′ (IR Iran); (15) Mike Wilson 52′ (New Zealand)

Expulsions: nil

Crowd attendance: 40,000

Pitch Condition: Very good

Weather: fine 26 degrees Celsius

Referee: Kousa Mohammed (Syria)

Assistant Referee 1: Al Abdullah M. Manmen (Syria)

Assistant Referee 2: Hamdoun Tammam (Syria)

Fourth Official: Abo Allo Suleman (Syria)

Referee Inspector: Mohd Nazri Abdullah (Malaysia)

Match Commissioner: Mohammed A. Al Nowaiser (Saudi Arabia)

Team Start Lists:

IR Iran:

1. Ebrahim Mirzapour (GK)

2. Mehdi Mahdavikia (-88′)

3. Rahman Rezaee

4. Yahya Golmohammadi

6. Javad Nekonam

7. Hamed Ravianpour

8. Ali Karimi Pashaki (- 83′)

10. Ali Dael (captain)

11. Ali Raza Yahedi Nikbakht (- 70′)

13. Hossein Kabi

15. Mohammad Nosrati

Substitutions

5. Sohrab Bakhtarizadeli

12. Mahdi Amirabadi

14. Moharam Navidikia (+ 70′)

16. Edmond Bazik (+ 88′)

17. Iman Mobali

18. Mehrzad Madanchi (+ 83′)

19. Jalal Rameli Mofrad

20. Amir Vaziri

21. Seyed Mahdi Rahmati (RGK)

Coach: Branco Ivancovich

New Zealand:

1. Mark Paston (GK)

2. Duncan Oughton (- 46′)

4. Gerard Davis

5. Che Bunce

6. Tony Lochhead

7. Ivan Vicelich (-57′)

8. Aaran Lines

9. Noah Hickey (- 46′)

11. Leo Bertos

12. Simon Elliot

14. Ryan Nelsen (captain)

Substitutions

3. David Mulligan

10. Glen Collins

13. Kris Bouckenooghe (+ 46′)

15. Mike Wilson (+ 46′)

16. Rupesh Puna (+ 57′)

17. Allan Pearce

19. Glen Moss (RGK)

Coach: Mick Waitt

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