Jan Kocian says Yemen must move on from Iran Asian Cup drubbing and focus on next games

Yemen's Group D campaign got off to a disastrous start on Monday

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Jan Kocian said two goals in two minutes killed any chance Yemen had of making an impact on their Asian Cup debut, after suffering a crushing defeat to tournament favourites Iran in Abu Dhabi.

The Yemenis trailed after 12 minutes before two goals in two minutes put Iran 3-0 up inside 25 minutes, with two second-half goals seeing Iran run out comfortable 5-0 winners in the Group D clash at Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium on Monday.

"This game was very hard for us," the Serb said. "The morale of the team fell flat after the two goals we conceded within two minutes.

“When Iran scored the first goal we still had a chance to get back into the game but those two goals in quick succession took the game away from us. It’s not easy to come back from 3-0 down against one of the favourites in the tournament.”

Mehdi Teremi's double put Iran in the ascendancy, before a howler from Saoud Al Sowadi that saw the Yemen goalkeeper punch an Ashkan Dejagah free-kick into to his own net, effectively killed the game. Further goals from substitutes Sardar Azmoun and Saman Ghoddoos merely rubbed salt into the Yemeni wounds.

“The physical aspect of the Iran team was far superior than ours,” Kocian said. “When you play against a team that has played in the Fifa World Cup and we are a team that hardly get time to train together.

“So there’s a big difference in the experience of the players. The Iranian players play in the best leagues in their own country and abroad.

“We have had two months of preparation for this tournament. Maybe losing 5-0 was not a good result for us but we must leave that behind and look ahead for the next two games.”


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His opposite number, Carlos Queiroz, said scoring so early helped settle Iranian nerves in their opening match.

“We tried to build up our game step-by-step, and fortunately Yemen committed a mistake from which we could score an early goal,” said the Portuguese.

"When you score early, it gives the confidence and tranquility to carry on with the game till the end. This is exactly what happened.

“I must congratulate my players for controlling the game for the full 90 minutes. The Yemen team played well. They kept trying until the end.”

Queiroz, who managed the UAE from 1998 to 1999, said it was important for the three-time champions of Asia to get off to a good start.

“I have been preparing my players for the first game and, with my experience, I know what’s all about the first game,” he said.

“The results are proving that if you don’t play with full concentration and full determination every single team can beat the other team. There are no favourites in the first game.

“We take advantage of this good lesson. Not only for our players but ourselves in the staff, but also to make people understand to play in the Asian Cup.

“It’s a tough and long competition. We have to take it game-by-game, deal with injuries and yellow cards; players get tired and suffer mental fatigue. I try to get my players focus on one game and then get them to relax match after match.”

Iran's next match is against Vietnam on Saturday while Yemen face Iraq.