A first-half flourish featured the best chances for Argentina, who were reduced to ten men late in the second half, and Iran as the two sides fought to a 1-1 draw, earning each a point for their FIFA U-17 World Cup campaigns.
Mostafa Hashemi celebrated his 17th birthday in style by putting Iran ahead inside the first minute of the match with a delightful half-volley from distance that caught everyone in Dubai’s Sheikh Rashid Stadium, including Argentina goalkeeper Augusto Batalla, off guard.
Iran continued to attack and maintained heavy pressure in the early stages of the contest but Argentina found their equaliser in the 15th minute through Sebastien Driussi. The Argentine No9 received Marcos Astina’s cross near the top of Iran’s penalty area and did very well to make good contact to send the ball through traffic and past Iran keeper Mahdi Amini.
Midway through the first-half Ali Hazami hit a powerful strike from 35 yards out that had Batalla beaten, but fortunately for Argentina’s custodian, his effort crashed off the far post and away from danger. Enjoying the majority of possession, Iran were searching for the lead and Saeid Ezatolahi found himself with a clear look on goal for their best chance to go ahead before the break, but he should have done better with his opportunity as his volley harmlessly sailed over the crossbar.
The second-half started brightly with several good chances at both ends in the first ten minutes, though the second goal would remain elusive for both sides. While Iran looked to be stronger team in the first half, Argentina began to assert themselves better after the restart and seemed to be the likelier to break the deadlock. Substitute Crisitan Pavon nearly made an immediate impact upon entering the match when his header clipped the crossbar in the 78th minute, but a second Argentina goal wasn’t meant to be.
Three minutes later Lucio Compagnucci saw red as a result of his second caution for a rough challenge, but Argentina continued to attack despite their numerical disadvantage.
Iran began to use their extra man to cause problems for the Argentinian rearguard during stoppage time, but it was too little too late as the Group E competitors were forced to settle for a draw. Both sides will be in search of three points on Tuesday when Argentina face Austria and Iran take on Canada.