News ID: 317048
Published: 0959 GMT October 13, 2021

Iran coach Skocic not satisfied with South Korea draw, Bento welcomes ‘fair result’

Iran coach Skocic not satisfied with South Korea draw, Bento welcomes ‘fair result’

Iran head coach Dragan Skocic reacts on the touchline as his team plays South Korea at the Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran, on October 12, 2021.

Iran head coach Dragan Skocic was left wanting more, while his counterpart on the South Korean bench Paulo Bento praised a quality contest after the two sides played to a 1-1 draw at the 2022 World Cup Asian qualifiers in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Tuesday.

Son Heung-min looked like he may have given the visitors all three points when he scored on the break in the 48th minute, but that goal sparked an Iranian revival which culminated in an Alireza Jahanbakhsh equalizer, reported.

The result keeps Iran two points ahead of the South Koreans on top of Group A, and both sides remain well placed to reach next year’s showdown in Qatar, but Skocic wouldn’t go as far as saying he was happy with dropping points on home soil.

“In the first half we had some problems in the midfield, and we tried to correct this in the second half,” said the Croatian boss, whose perfect record of 10 consecutive wins as Iran head coach ended on Tuesday.

“I have to tell you, I’m not happy to draw this game. I’m not satisfied, but at the same time, we played against a great team with top players, and, at any moment, they can take chances.

“We are satisfied to stay in this position. We are in a good position. Today we also played with our rival [for qualification] and we are looking forward to our future games in the competition."

It was a see-sawing game, and one which really burst into life after Son’s goal.

South Korea played calmly and defended well during the first half, then landed the game’s first real blow when the Tottenham Hotspur star became the first South Korean player to score in the Iranian capital since Park Ji-sung in 2009.

The hosts largely controlled the latter stages, with Saeed Ezzatollahi and Mehdi Taremi both hitting the woodwork, although it took an Alireza Beiranvand save in the dying seconds to prevent Na Sang-ho from winning it for the visitors.

Bento said, all things considered, each side deserved a point.

"I think it was a good game between two good teams with different styles,” he declared.

"I think we were better in the first half. Then after our goal, Iran had a very good reaction. We couldn't attack or control the game the way we did in the first half. We had a chance to score at the end of the game, but I think it's a fair result in a balanced game."

"We knew it wouldn't be a game where we were going to dominate the opponent every time. We should think that the opponent is a very good team with very good players, strong players. They pressed our team strongly and we also had difficulties to find space behind their defensive line."

With eight points from four games, South Korea remain second in the group table ahead of next month’s matches against winless United Arab Emirates and Iraq, while Iran will carry their total of 10 points through to the November fixtures against Lebanon and Syria.



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