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Qatar to host Iran after AFC Champions League success

Qatar to host Iran after AFC Champions League success


IKOLI VICTOR
Doha
Jorge Fossati, the national team coach of Qatar, will take joy in Al Rayyan's and Lekhwiya's impressive AFC Champions League results against Iranian clubs ahead of Thursday's World Cup qualifier.
Qatar host Iran at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in their sixth game in Group A of the Asian 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Iran lead the group with 11 points from 5 matches, Korea Republic is second with 10 points, while Qatar stay fifth with four points.
Five players in Fossati's squad - Musab al Khader, Ahmed Alaa, Sebastian Soria, Rodrigo Tabata and Omar Barry- helped Rayyan to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Persepolis last Tuesday.
Tabata bagged a brace and set up another as Al Rayyan moved to the top of Group D in the 2017 AFC Champions League. The result will give the players a psychological advantage over their counterparts from Persepolis.
Persepolis has six players represented in the current national team with five on the losing side against Rayyan.
Goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvandm, defender Jalal Hosseini is the most capped Iranian player with 108 appearances. Mohammad Ansari only saw action for a few minutes against Rayyan when he came in added time.
Vahid Amiri played the full duration of the match with a yellow card to his name. Ramin Rezaeian was unavailable against Rayyan.
Mehdi Taremi scored Persepolis' only goal in the match which was his third in two matches. The 24-year-old with 16 caps has six goals to his credit with the national team and he was part of the team that defeated Qatar 2-0 in September last year.
Lekhwiya parade seven players in Fossati's team and their 1-1 draw against Esteghlal Khouzestan forced the Iranians to drop their first points of their 2017 AFC Champions League campaign as Ismaeel Mohammed's goal earned the Red Knights a 1-1 draw with the Iranian champions.
Unfortunately the team Lekhwiya faced does not have a player in the current 20-man squad but Danial Mahini was part of the initial squad that trained in Tehran for the World Cup qualifiers. The Lekhwiya players in the national team are Karim Boudiaf, Asim Madibo, Muhammad Musa, Louise Martin, Ali Hassan Afif, Moaaz Ali and Ismail Mohammed.
Both results will serve as a morale booster for the national team as they target maximum points against Iran. Qatar must win the match to stand a chance of at least picking a playoff spot in their World Cup qualifier group.
Iran is scheduled to face Qatar on March 23 at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium and later take up China on March 28 in Azadi Stadium in the two upcoming contests.
Accordingly, Carlos Queiroz, Portuguese manager of Iran's national football team, released an early roster of players for the match against Qatar and China.
Iran will depend on the services of Sardar Azmoun of Russian club Rostov. He has been described as the country's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. According to a UEFA report, the Iranian striker is already a big name in his home country, and at 22, could well become a star the world over.
Reza Ghoochannejhad of Dutch Eredivise club SC Heerenveen is the current top scorer for the national team with 17 goals. His 94th minute goal against Qatar in the first leg last September ensured Team Melli win 2-0.
A bright side for Qatar is two of Iran's defenders play professional football in the Qatar Stars League, Morteza Pouraliganji from Al Sadd and Pejman Montazeri. With the right tactics and players, Al Annabi with home support should beat Iran.

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