Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly
Iran held Nigeria to a goalless draw in a Group F fixture in Curitiba. This result has narrowed down the chances of both these team to progress to the next round as it means they now have to beat Argentina or Bosnia-Herzegovina to make it to the Round of 16.
Iran 0-0 Nigeria
90'- TWO MINUTES ADDED ON!
89'- Substitution number 2 for Iran. Khosro Heydari goes off. On comes Masoud.
87'- Iran have been disciplined at the back as it was expected. But Nigeria have clearly not done enough to test the Iranian goalkeeper.
84'- A draw does not bode well for both teams. This is the easiest match for both of them. The other teams in the group are Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina, who also are favorites to go through to the Round of 16.
81'- Odemwingie moves inside from the right into the center and receives a high ball by controlling using part of his shoulder. He volleys the ball as it comes down from with his left foot. The resulting shot misses the target. Had it gone in, it wouldn't have mattered as the ref blew his whistle as he thought the Stoke forward used his hand to control the ball.
80'- For all the players at their disposal, especially the Premier League stars, the "Super Eagles" have been wasteful in the final third.
78'- First substitution of the match by Iran in the 78th minute. They replace Ashkan Dejagah with Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
75'- Andranik gets a yellow card for a rash challenge.
73'- Onazi tricks his marker and goes for goal. His effort is weak and Haghighi gladly makes the collection.
70'- Ameobi gets behind the Iran defense and lets one fly. The ref apparently had already blown his whistle.
69'- Nigeria make their final substitution: Ramon Azeez comes off for Peter Odemwingie.
67'- One gets the feeling this was Iran's exact plan. They have managed to frustrate the Nigerians and will look to sneak in a goal from a set-piece.
64'- Mikel tries his luck from way out more out of desperation. He has not been able to tick Nigeria's midfield so far.
62'- Nigerian fans are now booing their players in an attempt to encourage them to force the issue. The ticket playing public do not want to see a boring 0-0 draw.
60'- We have hit the 60 minute mark here. The deadlock continues as both teams have not been able to play at their best and are not willing to experiment.
58'- Emenike's effort is well wide. He has spurned a great opportunity here. The least he should have done was test the Iran goalkeeper.
55'- Ghoochannejhad competes with Enyeama to head in a looping cross by Heydari. But the keeper wins the duel and collects smartly.
52'- Second substitution of the match for Nigeria. Chelsea man Victor Moses for Newcastle's Shola Ameobi
51'- Dejagah is brought to the ground by Yobo after he got beaten comfortably. Free-kick awarded to Iran neat the center-circle.
48'- Victor Moses makes an attempt to involve Azeez in a move. But the return pass is wayward and it goes out for a throw-in.
47'- Emenike picks up the ball in the middle of the park and tries to single-handedly take on the entire Iran defense. Pouladi forces him out wide and wins back the possession. Resolute defending by the left-back.
46'- Here we go...
The teams have come out for the second half. The Nigerians are in a huddle. So are the Iranians.
No goals so far here. It has not been very exciting. Both teams have adopted a risk averse approach. Apart from that headed chance for Iran, there have not been any clear cut chances for either teams. Hopefully, both teams will go for the win when they come out after a break.
HALF TIME: Iran 0 - 0 Nigeria
45'- TWO MINUTES of added on time has been signaled by the ref's assistant.
43'- Musa was in possession on the right side. He put in a long and hopeful ball which was easily dealt with by the Iran defense.
41'- Nigeria have been dominated in possession by Iran in the last few minutes. But the end product has been wasteful. The "Super Eagles" have tried to counter-attack on a couple of occasions but were not successful.
38'- Emenike in possession does well to shake off an Iranian player to create a bit of space for himself to shoot. His long range effort is way off the mark.
35'- NIgeria have not been troubled the back by Iran so far. Apart from having to be bailed out by their keeper on one occasion, the Africans have relatively been able to keep the Asians quiet.
34'- Corner for Iran. Ghoochannejhad connected the deliver from the corner with his head. Enyeama makes a wonderful save. Easily the best chance of the match for either side.
31'- Free-kick from Musa has gone for goal from a free-kick instead of finding his teammates in the box. Haghighi palms the ball out for a corner. Good all round play.
29'- Nigeria are forced to make their first substitution as the injured Godfrey Oboabona can't seem to continue in the match any longer. He is replaced by the former Everton man - Joseph Yobo. Like-for-like swap by the Africans.
25'- Strong defensive capabilities and discipline has always been the hallmark of the Iranians under Queiroz. The former Sir Alex Ferguson assistant is a proven master tactician.
23'- Emenike and Hosseini are involved in battle for possession. But the Nigerian is masterfully muscled off the ball by the Iranian. Wonderful bit of defending by Hosseini.
21'- Looks like Oboabona has twisted his ankle here. The medical staff comes out with a stretcher to take him off.
17'- Dejagah is beaten by Ambrose easily. The latter sends in a long cross, which the goalkeeper comes out and collects smartly.
15'- Nigeria's star players are now dominating possession in the middle of the park. John Obi Mikel is seeing a fair amount of the ball. But the Africans have not been able to carve out any clear opening.
13'- Hajsafi's delivery off a free-kick is met by Ghoochannejhad with a header. However he fails to provide direction to his header.
9'- Onazi and Sadeghi collide. The former came off worse from that collision. He gets treatment from the medical staff and is back up on his feet.
7'- Musa slots the ball into the back of the net after a scramble resulting from a corner. But the ref disallows the goal as Haghighi was fouled by the Nigerians.
5'- Mikel finds Emenike with an accurate long ball. The latter is in a good position but he is quickly hassled by the center-backs.
3'- Moses switches the ball to his right foot and lets one fly. Haghighi has a comfortable collection. The ball was fired in from outside the box.
2'- We have had a cagey affair so far. Both teams are a bit tentative.
1'- Here we go...
Iran are in their traditional white and Nigeria in green.
Now time for the Nigerian national anthem.
Both the teams have lined up for their national anthems. Iran's first.
We have the line-ups with us:
Iran: Haghighi, Heydari, Haji Safi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Nekounam, Teymourian, Montazeri, Ghoochannejad, Dejagah, Pooladi.
Subs: Ahmadi, Shojaei, Haghighi, Reza Jahanbakhsh, Ansarifard, Haddadifa, Mahini, Alenemeh, Rahmani, Beikzadeh, Beitashour, Davari.
Nigeria: Enyeama, Ambrose, Oshaniwa, Oboabona, Omeruo, Mikel, Onazi, Azeez, Musa, Moses, Emenike.
Subs: Yobo, Uzoenyi, Gabriel, Egwuekwe, Odemwingie, Odunlami, Ejide, Babatunde, Nwofor, Uchebo, Agbim, Ameobi
Welcome to our coverage of this important Group F clash between Iran and Nigeria at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. This is a match between to evenly matched teams, which is why it is expected to be a lively affair.
For Iran, Daniel Davari is expected to start over veteran Rahman Ahmadi. Nigeria have a lot of firepower themselves, especially with their stars John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie.
Iran are coached by one of the best head coaches in world football - Carlos Queiroz. He is a master tactician who prefers the 4-2-3-1 formation. Iran will look to absorb the pressure and catch Nigeria on the counter-attack with players like Javad Nekounam, Reza Ghoochannejhad and Ashkan Dejagah.
Iran are Asia`s highest ranked side in the FIFA Rankings and are solid at the back. Both teams have not enjoyed much success at the World Cup finals.