IR Iran emerge Central Asian champions after 1-1 draw with hosts Tajikistan in CAFA U19 Championship 2019

iran cafa u19 championship

IR Iran drew 1-1 with hosts Tajikistan in the CAFA U19 Championship 2019 to emerge as the Central Asian youth champions on Thursday.

Going into the final matchday of the Central Asian Football Association (CAFA) tournament, Team Melli just had to avoid a defeat against the hosts while Tajikistan had to win the game against the Iranians to lift the trophy.

Iran were top of the group with three wins and nine points while the Tajiks were two points behind in the second place. Iran had defeated all three other teams in the competition — Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan — while Tajiks could only manage a 2-2 draw with the Uzbeks on the third matchday.

The all-important encounter began well for Tajikistan as they took the lead through striker Rustam Soirov and the hosts were looking all set to lift the U-19 title having only won the CAFA U16 Championship 2019 earlier this month.

But with Mahdi Hashemnezhad Rahimabadi struck for Iran in the 80th minute to make it 1-1 and give Iran the one point needed for them to emerge as the Central Asian champions.

In the other match of the day, Uzbekistan defeated Turkmenistan 2-0 to finish third in the tournament.

Amir Hossein Nikpour of Iran was named the most valuable player of the second edition of the CAFA U19 Championship while Tajikistan’s Shahrom Samiev emerged as the top scorer. Iran also took home the fair play award.

(Photo courtesy: Central Asian Football Association)