An error by Iranian goal keeper Ebrahim Mirzapour resulting in Omar Bravo’s second goal, and a neat header by substitute Zinha were enough to cancel out Yahya Golmohammadi’s first half equaliser to see Mexico defeat Iran 3-1.
Iran’s magnificent gift of a large tapestry to their opponents before kick-off in exchange for the usual commemorative team pennant was just as generous as their loose defending in the second half of the match.
With the score locked at 1-1 at the break, Mexican coach Ricardo La Volpe made a double substitution, taking off influential playmaker Guillermo Franco and Cruz Azul midfielder Gerardo Torrado, replacing them with Brazilian born and hence controversial team selection Zinha, and fellow midfielder Luis Perez.
Substitute Zinha seized on Mirzapour error in the 76th minute and sent Chivas Guadalajara striker Bravo away for his second and a 2-1 lead.
Just three minutes later the substitute turned from provider to scorer after some non-existent Iranian marking left him free in the box.
Mexican substitue Zinha celebrates
with an assist and a goal
Overlapping wing-back Mario Mendez sent in a pin-point cross and Zinha left goal keeper Mirzapour sprawling on the ground twice in a short space of time as his side went 3-1 up.
In the first half, two chances to Hannover based Iranian striker Vahid Hashemian within seconds of each other went begging, the second saved brilliantly by keeper Oswaldo Sanchez who recently returned from his father’s funeral in Mexico.
After a 28th minute Iranian foul in good attacking position for Mexico, midfielder Pavel Pardo floated the ball into the box for a leaping Franco to connect with a headed flick-on to the feet of Bravo at the far post, the striker finishing with a neat right-footed stab.
As the match continued to go from end to end, Iran’s equaliser came in the 36th minute from a Mehdi Mahdavikia corner.
Keeper Sanchez flapped at the ball but could only parry it into the path of 35 year old defender Golmohammadi, who as his name suggests, hammered a goal from close range.
Mexico are now in a great position after gaining three early points.