Iran 1 Angola 1: Angola hopes of slipping into last 16 dashed by Iran's fight

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The Independent Football

Iranian defender Sohrab Bakhtiarizadeh put an end to Angola's hopes of progressing to the second round of the World Cup finals with a header 15 minutes from time and secured his side a draw in Leipzig.

Needing a victory plus a Mexico defeat to make it through to the last 16 on their debut appearance at the finals, Luis Oliveira Goncalves' side weathered a first-half storm before taking the lead on the hour mark through Amado Flavio with a perfectly placed header.

But, after dominating the opening period without converting a single chance, the Iranians finally found the back of the net when central defender Bakhtiarizadeh - in the starting line-up following a shoulder injury to Yahya Golmohammadi - met Mehdi Mahdavikia's 75th minute corner to earn Iran their only point of the 2006 finals.

"We were not intelligent enough to defend our 1-0 lead but I'm none the less proud of my players," Luis Oliveira Goncalves, the Angola coach, said. "Today's match was a little bit of bad football but in the end I think a draw was a fair result. People were saying we would let in a lot of goals but that didn't happen."

Iranian coach, Branko Ivankovic, was disappointed. "We dominated and perhaps deserved a win," said the Croat. "The conditions were hard but the players put their heart and soul into it. They did everything to win, but they just weren't lucky. We've had injury problems but we can be satisfied with our performance overall.

"I would like to congratulate the excellent Iran fans. They believed in our victory until the last second of the match."

The Iranians should, however, have been comfortably in front when the half-time whistle sounded, so dominant was Ivankovic's side. Joao Ricardo was the busier of the two goalkeepers and he did well to deny the Iran in the 14th minute when Vahid Hashemian's through-ball on the turn put Ferydoon Zandi in on goal, only for his shot to parried to safety.

Angolan midfielder Antonio Mendonca was perfectly placed on the post to clear Zandi's powerful header in the 27th minute and, with five minutes left in the half, Andranik Teymourian's low shot was collected at the second attempt by Ricardo.

The Angolans threatened more at the start of the second half and, after Mendonca's near miss in the 54th minute, Flavio claimed his nation's first ever World Cup goal on the hour when he was left unmarked to head home Jose Ze Kalanga's cross from the right.

Mendonca should have extended the lead three minutes later when he curled his attempt from the edge of the area well wide and, with 15 minutes to go, the Angolans were to regret that miss as Bakhtiarizadeh steered the ball past Ricardo.

Iran (4-4-2): Mirzapour (Foolad); Kaebi (Foolad) Bakhtiarizadeh (Saba Bettery), Rezaei (Messina), Nosrati (Pas Tehran); Mahdavikia (Hamburg), Zandi (Kaiserslautern), Teymourian (A Moslem), Madanchi (Persepolis); Hashemian (Hannover 96), Daei (Saba Battery).

Substitutes used: Shojaei (Sappai) for Nosrati, 13; Khatibi (Sepahan) for Hashemian, 39; Borhani (Pas Tehran) for Kaebi, 67.

Angola (4-5-1): Ricardo (unattached); Jamba (AS Aviacao), Kali (FC Barreirense), Loco (Primeiro Agosto), Delgado (Petro Atletico); Milloy (InterClube), Figueiredo (Varzim); Mateus (Gil Vicente), Mendonca (Varzim), Ze Kalanga (Petro Atletico); Akwa (Flavio 51).

Substitutes used: Love (AS Aviacao) for Mateus, 23; Flavio (Al Ahli) for Akwa, 51; Rui Marques (Hull) for Figueiredo, 72.

Booked: Iran Madanchi, Teymourian, Zandi. Angola Loco, Mendonca, Ze Kalanga.

Referee: Mark Shield (Australia).