It was a spirited display from Iran that saw them take a point home against hosts India.

Iran clawed out a courageous 0-0 draw against hosts India in their opening game of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022. They had to play on the backfoot for the majority of the game. But some solid defending alongside heroic goalkeeping from Zohreh Koudaei helped Iran get a point in their first-ever game.

Manager Maryam Irandoost sounded happy with the point in the nation’s debut game at the continental championships. Summing up the result, she said, “We all know that the first match is important for everyone, it’s often the toughest game in the tournament. We didn’t have any international experience but I feel we were good today. We poured our everything into defending and I think we got a good result.”

When asked about how significant this result feels for Iran Maryam Irandoost said: “We came here to win but it was a very tough game. That’s why we struggled in our attacks in the match. But I think it’s good; we at least gained minimum points from the game. Because of the energy and motivation the Iranian people sent us, we’d love it if we could win a game going forward.”

Maryam Irandoost was questioned about her goals in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. She also commented on whether they’re aiming to qualify for the next FIFA Women’s World Cup. She replied, “I do believe a lot in my team’s capabilities and have a lot of faith in my team and I hope they can qualify for the final rounds.”

Finally, the 42-year-old Maryam Irandoost was asked about who she felt was Iran’s best outfield player against India. She replied, “Hajar Dabbaghi is one of our experienced midfielders, and I asked her to press the other (Indian) midfielders. She has the ability to do so, but she had an injury so she couldn’t be at her best today.”

“I think the goalkeeper was our best player in the game, as she deservedly won the Player of the Match award.”

Koudaei, who won the Player of the Match award also shared her thoughts on the result. She said, “As the coach mentioned, the match was very tough. I think we were pretty good considering it was our first match in this tournament. We will try to do our best and be better and take things one step at a time.”

“I’d like to congratulate the Indian team because they were so strong. But I feel we had a good performance on the pitch. We really want to score a goal, but maybe as it was our first game, the environment or the stressful nature of the situation affected us. We will be better (prepared) for the next match and will battle throughout the match on the pitch,” she concluded.

Iran will play their next game against China on January 23, Sunday, at 3:30 PM IST.

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