Photo Credit: Pakawich Damrongkiattisak – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
New Caledonia ended their FIFA FIFA U-17 World Cup™ adventure with a 5-0 defeat to Iran in their third and final group stage fixture at the Si Jalak Harupat Stadium in Bandung.
Having suffered heavy defeats to England and Brazil respectively, the Oceania side were keen to end their campaign with an improved performance and did just that against their Asian opponents, losing three goals in the final 20 minutes of the match having defended well for much of the ninety.
Amirmohammad Razaghinia’s two goals in the first period had given Iran a 2-0 lead at half-time, a position that would have been stronger had Esmaeil not missed a penalty just before the half hour mark – Inine Huna having been penalised following a VAR check.
The third goal to truly kill off the contest didn’t arrive until late in the second-half, substitute Reza Ghandipour scoring with just under fifteen minutes remaining of the ninety to seal the three points and all but confirm that his side will advance to the knockout stage.
With Brazil having beaten England in Group C’s other match on Friday evening, the top three in the group finish with 6 points apiece – with Iran highly likely to be extending their stay in Indonesia as one of the best third-placed teams.
New Caledonia’s improved performance was reflected in the match stats, with their 5 attempts on goals – one of which hit the target – representing a tournament high in what was arguably the toughest possible draw they could have expected.
Two goals scored during the now expected lengthy added-on time at the end of the ninety minutes put the gloss on the final score for Iran. Mohammed Askari and Kasra Taheri scoring their side’s fourth and fifth goals respectively, deep into stoppage time.
A disappointing return for New Caledonia with three defeats from three, but cause to be optimistic for the future following their gradual improvement of performances in a brutally tough group.
Iran: 5 (Amirmohammad RAZAGHINIA 17′, 34′, Reza GHANDIPOUR 76′, Mohammad ASKARI 90+6′, Kasra TAHERI 90+8′)
New Caledonia: 0