Iran beat Nigeria 2-1 on penalties after a thrilling 4-4 draw after extra time to finish second in Group B behind Italy, while defeat confirmed the exit of the Super Sand Eagles at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, Bahamas 2017.
Nigeria came from behind thrice during regulation time and also failed to protect their late lead through Ikechukwu Ibenegbu in the third period of the encounter.
Ahmadzadeh and Mokhtari scored a brace each for Iran, while Godspower, Emmanuel, Tale and Ibenegbu were on the scorers sheet for Nigeria.
Nigeria got into the advantage during the shootout as Super Sand Eagles goalkeeper, Paul Dani saved Boulokbashi’s penalty. Tale failed to put Nigeria into the lead as his penalty kick sailed wide.
Nazem successfully converted his spot kick and Iran took the lead, before Ibenegbu leveled scores for Nigeria soon after. Akbari restored Iran into the lead while Nigeria’s Ogodo rattled the cross bar with his kick.
Italy and Iran progressed to the next round from Group B, while Super Sand Eagles are eliminated from the tournament finishing third in the group with two points from three matches.
Speaking with Naijafootballplus.com from Bahamas after the game, Super Sand Eagles captain Isiaka Olawale says the team gave their best.
“We sacrificed for the country to reach this stage in the championship, we fought hard as a team but unfortunately we couldn’t progress. We gave our best and we encouraged ourselves in the tournament, we aren’t disappointed.
“Penalties is for the luckiest team and Iran were more lucky, we could have won and progress. I hope what we have learnt from the tournament would guide us in the future. Poor preparations won’t guarantee us success at the world level, we have to prepare to contest among the best countries,” said Olawale.