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Bangkok: Islamic Republic of Iran head coach Ali Arani has praised his players for carrying out their instructions to perfection following a 2-0 win over Iraq which saw them lift the inaugural AFC U-20 Futsal Championship title on Friday.

Iran emerged victorious thanks to Sahand Rezapour’s fourth-minute strike and an own goal from Iraq’s Zaid Ali. to leave the Iranians as proud holders of both the U-20 and senior AFC Futsal Championship titles, and Arani a very happy man.

“It was a fantastic game,” declared a smiling Arani.

“We could have scored more than two goals, but our players are young and inexperienced, so we didn’t want to make any more mistakes.

“We were more concerned in controlling the game and acting on their mistakes.

“For our preparation, we analysed their play style. And we knew what we wanted to do, and we played it perfectly.

Undefeated throughout the tournament, the Iranians impressed during the Group Stage and beyond, scoring 40 goals and only two conceding nine. A fine run of form that, according to Arani, helped fuel belief and optimism within the camp.

“From the Group Stage, we got better with every game,” he said.

“It was a step-by-step process, and with every victory, our confidence grew.”

Iran and Iraq - via their U-18 teams - are now set to be Asia’s two representatives at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires, and with little time to waste, Arani is eager to begin scouting for players immediately.

“Iran is a big country with many talented and skilful players. We won’t just be looking in schools and universities, but I believe we can find players from the streets, neighbourhoods and cities from everywhere."

Photo: AFC

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