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Iran, North Korea soccer match ends amid troubles over North Korean injury


A soccer match between Iran and North Korea, playing in Tehran in the framework of the second-leg preliminary match of the 13th Asian Cup, ended with no clear results due to grave injury of a N.Korean player, IRNA reported.

An acrobatic gesture by Iran's renowned striker Ali Daei to score a goal in the 56th minute of the game sent football fans into high enthusiasm.

Football fans began shouting and throwing hand-made grenades on the soccer field, this resulted in an injury of a N. Korean player. The N.Korean squad left the field as a gesture of protest and the game ended without any clear result.

In the first leg in Pyongyang on Oct 29, Iran beat North Korea 3-1 as playmaker Ali Karimi scored two goals and "Player of the Year 2002" Moharram Navidkia grabbed the third.

Players, officials censure hooliganism, AFC has final say

National players and officials of Iran Wednesday lambasted hooliganism, waiting for the decision of the Asian Football Confederation, IRNA reported from Tehran.

North Korea walked off the pitch of the 100,000-seater Azadi Stadium, 10 km west of Tehran, in the 60th minute of its Asian Cup qualifier versus Iran Wednesday night when a homemade missile was thrown onto the field, injuring the Korean midfielder Su Hyuk-chul.

According to Davoud Abedi, a reporter of Iranian News Channel, talking live on TV from the stadium, the injured Korean player was rushed to (Farabi) hospital.

He added the AFC will announce Korea the 3-0 winner if the doctors confirm the footballer has been seriously injured and Iran will be the winner with the same result if the player had feigned injury.

Iran was ahead 1-0 in the second leg as veteran skipper Ali Daei converted a penalty three minutes before the incident.

The Group D table-topper Iran handed North Korea a 3-1 defeat in their first-leg match in Pyongyang on Oct 29.

Iran leads the group with six points out of three matches while the bottom-placed North Korea has one point from the same games. Talking to IRNA, the Bundesliga-bound Mehdi Mahdavikia condemned the unsporting behavior of the hooligans.

The popular right winger of Hamburg added such an event never takes place in Germany and the fans are allowed in most of the stadiums to sit off the pitch and watch the games.

"If the match continued, we scored more," regretted the fast-paced Mahdavikia, adding "but unfortunately a hooligan hurled a firecracker onto the field, giving the Koreans the necessary excuse to quit the pitch."

Houshang Nassirzadeh, an Iranian refereeing expert, said Iran will be surely fined.

According to the regulations of world football's governing body, FIFA, Iran will be most likely banned from hosting the games, he told IRNA Wednesday night.

The result of Iran-North Korea match will be decided by the reports of the referee and supervisor, said Nassirzadeh adding the judges and organizing officials found the conditions suitable for holding the international game but North Korea abandoned.

If the (Syrian) referee points to this fact in his report to the AFC, Iran will be undoubtedly announced the winner with a 3-0 victory.

Iran's "Referee of the Year 2002", Massoud Moradi said Iran will be the winner.

In his talks with IRNA, he added, "Based on FIFA's rules, North Korea did not reserve the right to walk out and Iran is certainly the 3-0 winner."

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