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Iran, Egypt face off in final Morocco, Nigeria stunned

KUWAIT CITY, May 18: The 2nd Diplomatic Football Tournament Kuwait2014 has reached the penultimate day on Sunday with Iran and Egypt through to the finals before a boisterous crowd of supporters at the Bayan open air Football Park. Iran outplayed Morocco to a 2-1 outcome in a fierce contest that saw both sides make trips to each others’ goal areas with Morocco’s Radwan Hajery and Saeed Qatawi firing shots relentlessly at the Iranian goal post, forcing the keeper into goalmouth melees that at times came very close to scoring. Radwan received a pass from Qatawi, decoyed the Iranian defenders and slotted in the ball behind the keeper for the opener of the game just at the cusp of the first half recess. Morocco finished their group games in second place and also saw off top seeded Tunisia in the quarter finals.

Iran’s Farhad sneaked through Moroccan defenses and received a pass from number 10 to fire a blazer past the Moroccan keeper for the equalizer two minutes into the second half. Foray after foray were made by Iran into the Moroccan half but the Moroccan keeper successfully stymied each of them. And in one of those Iranian pushes, Farhad and no. 4 managed to take the ball into the Moroccan half and just as Farhad was about to make the final delivery for a goal, the Moroccan keeper went in for both the ball and his foot, sending the Iranian center forward to the floor. A penalty was awarded to the Iranians which was expertly converted by Farhad for Iran to take a 2-1 lead, a goal advantage they hung on to till the end to book their ticket to the finals come Monday.

The Iranian performance at the group level was at best mixed as they only managed to win a single match while drawing three of the five matches they played to finish a distant second after Turkey. But their performance was stepped up in the quarter final as they whipped Iraq 3-0. Their performance on Sunday’s semis also gave them such a high rating that could send their opponents in the upcoming finals shivering. 

Talking about the other finals slot, Egypt, as predicted on the playground, won the encounter against Nigeria 2-0 with Mohammed Mustafa and Yousri Mohammed very active upfront tussling with the Nigerian keeper. The Nigerians made several threatening moves into the Egyptian half where they always run into solid defenders. The game got a bit physical in the middle of the first half with Mohammed Mustafa slipping through Nigerian lines to tap in the opener for his side 10 minutes into the first half. A fast move by Mohammed Awad with the ball, passed to Yousri and back to Awad who made the final delivery at pointblank range for Egypt’s second goal, with just a minute remaining on the clock. Game closed 2-0 for Egypt who will be meeting Iran in the titanic finals clash on Monday after which the curtains are drawn for the end of the 9-day 2nd diplomatic football Tournament Kuwait2014. 

By Iddris Seidu
Arab Times Staff

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