| Action in the Uzbekistan-Iran match during the JRD Tata meet in Jamshedpur on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur: Uzbekistan and Iran played out an exciting 1-1 draw in their JRD Tata Cup under-19 football tournament clash on Friday.
There were misses galore at both ends in the second match of the invitational international meet at the JRD Tata Sports Complex. It was the Iranians who called the shots in the first quarter with some accurate passing and swift running by the frontliners.
The Uzbeks turned the tide after the 21st-minute goal by Umarov Bahrom. He received a crisp through pass from Umuzsakov Muzaffer, dodged two defenders and tapped the ball past the custodian.
The Uzbek midfielders had more possession of the ball at this stage and fed their strikers regularly, pushing the Iranian defence hard. Bahrom and Muzaffer had quite a few chances but failed to convert.
Crossing over with a one-goal deficit, the Iranians looked purposeful and pressed for the equaliser. Milad Midavoodi got it just three minutes into the second half. Winger Mohammad Neknafs ran down the right flank and sent in a low centre to Amir Reza Bagherinia, who relayed the ball to an unmarked Midavoodi. The centre-forward shot in between two defenders.
Both teams tried their best to snatch the vital second goal. It produced coast-to-coast action and a flurry of opportunities.
Iran packed in a lot of punch in their counter-attacks and the decent audience cheered every move.
Uzbekistan could have snatched the lead 12 minutes after the break had Abdullaev Sadziddin not made a mess of a great chance. A cross from the left found Sadziddin at the right place but he could not direct his header properly.
Two minutes later, another header from him went high over the bar.
Uzbekistan had another opportunity in the 62nd minute but Sadziddin shot an Abdullnyer Hbbos pass was shot straight to the custodian.
Having escaped three close calls, Iran breathed free and regained composure. It was now their turn to create chances. Midavoodi missed a sitter, then skipper Milad Nori shot over the bar. The Uzbekistan defence was exposed but just about escaped punishment.