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Iran speeds into Asian futsal final

Macau, China, April 25, IRNA -- The five-times champion Iran vaulted into the final of the sixth Asian Futsal Championships here Saturday.

Iran extended its winning streak in the semifinal, thrashing the Thai side 6-1.

The victory helped the Asian futsal lord book a berth in 2004 world event in Taiwan and set up its third consecutive final with the revenge-seeking Japan Sunday.

Top goalscorer Vahid Shamsaei struck two in the sixth and 35th minutes while Mohsen Zarei scored on 10 minutes and skipper Mohammad-Reza Heidarian netted in the 17th minute and two were added by Mohammad Hashemzadeh and Babak Ma'soumi in the 27th and 36th minutes.

Thailand scored its consolation goal on 33 minutes.

Iran demolished the Thai side 10-1 in the first Asian edition in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, in 1999 and handed it a 8-2 humiliating defeat in its capital Bangkok in 2000.

The undisputed champion has met Nippon three times in final.

Playing in front of over 12,000 home fans in the Azadi hall, Iran overcame the struggling Japan 8-4 in 2001 to retain the title for the third consecutive time.

Iran proved too strong for Japan in the fourth edition in Jakarta, capital of Indonesia, winning the final 6-0.

Japan reduced the gap next year in Tehran as it lost 6-4 in a nail-biting final.

The budding Japan beat Uzbekistan 4-2 Saturday in the hope of taking revenge on Iran.

Iran punished Hong Kong 15-0 in its opening match, routed Indonesia 13-3 in the second match, gave Cambodia a 24-1 licking in the third game, tamed Uzbekistan 8-1, and clobbered Kuwait 10-3.

In the latest world rankings released by the Futsal Committee of FIFA in early April, Iran stood seventh.

Taiwan will host the world futsal matches from November 21 to December 5.

... Payvand News - 4/25/04 ... --

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