| The victorious Iranian team in Jamshedpur on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur: Iran defeated Uzbekistan 2-0 in a rain-soaked final to clinch the JRD Tata Cup international invitational football tournament title at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Monday. Milad Midavoodi and Nader Ahmadui did the honours for Iran.
The match kicked off an hour-and-a-quarter late, thanks to a heavy downpour in the afternoon that made the ground unplayable. Pools of water were seen in most parts of the turf even as the organisers prayed for the rain to stop.
Iran utilised the slushy conditions to the fullest and slotted in the opening goal as early as in the third minute much to the surprise of the Uzbeks, who had played safe right from the start. Milad Midavoodi converted a high lob from the left, pushing the ball into the open net.
The in-form centre forward ran solo from the centre, dodged goalkeeper Alexander Lobanov before gently slotting the ball in.
The Iranians played with a set strategy and always looked favourites to put it across to the Uzbeks.
They relied on aerial passes for most of the first-half and when the ground became somewhat playable in the second they relied on neat passes.
The Uzbeks, too, had their chances but the strong Iran defence foiled all their attempts. Defenders Amir Reza Khanmohammedi and Mohsen Afrozian did a good job. Uzbekistan would have equalised in the 19th minute had Shakhboz Erkinov managed to put his head to the ball.
The right wing chip from Sadriddin Abdulayev just grazed Erkinovís head close to the Iran goalmouth.
There were a lot of frayed tempers. Referee Binod Kumar Singh showed the yellow card to as many as nine players from either side. The bad conditions made the players lose their temper quite often.
Iran scored the winner in the 68th minute through Nader Ahmadui, who slotted the ball in off a left wing cross from Mehrdad Oladi Ghadikolaie.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) secretary Alberto Colaco and veteran footballer Chunni Goswami handed over the trophy to Iran while Punjab Football Association secretary general Inder
Singh gave the runners-up trophy to Uzbekistan.