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Macedonia beat Iran after tight battle

IRAN VS FYRO MACEDONIA 150117Qatar 2015 M15 IRI vs MKD-GEO10 xlarge

Iran - Macedonia 31:33 (17:19)

Macedonia celebrated their second win at the 24th Men's World Championship in Qatar. Even though Kiril Lazarov and his teammates weren't on the same level as they were in their opener against Tunisia last night, a solid performance was enough to beat Iran 33:31 in Ali Bin Hamad Al Atiyya Arena in Al Sadd. Four easy goals zipped by solid Iranian goalkeeper Saeid Barkhordari after just 180 seconds - enough reason for coach Borut Macek to call time-out (4:1). That was a turning point of the first half as Iran began to play much better, scoring easy goals after a powerful shooting performance from the backline led by right back Sajad Nadri and the brothers Sajad and Allahkaram Esteki.

Iranian shooters easily found themselves in the "gun and run" first half with the Macedonians, who weren't on the level from previous night, when they had blown away Tunisia. Macedonian coach Ivica Obrvan was forced to call a time-out after his team went two goals down in 16th minute - 11:9. The effects were immediately visible as the Macedonians scored three consecutive unanswered goals to regain the lead 12:11. But Iran continued to fly on the wings of a good goalkeeping performance and strong shooters until five minutes before the half-time buzzer when Lazarov began with his show.

IRAN VS FYRO MACEDONIA 150117Qatar 2015 M15 IRI vs MKD- U8Y0891 xlarge1

The goal-scoring record holder from the 2009 World Championship came from the bench and scored four goals in the last nine minutes of the first half, providing his team a two-goal advantage at the break (19:17). Contrary to their opening clash with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran stayed fired up in the second half, even when they were five goals down after the 45th minute, 27:22. The Asian debutants had an answer to Lazarov's outstanding nine-goal performance. That was the gunners' duo of Allahkaram Esteki and Sajad Nadri who kept their team in the game almost through to the end (30:28, 53rd minute). Esteki ended the game with nine goals, Iran's top scorer. However, a few mistakes by the Iranian attack gave Macedonian winger Vlado Nedanovski a chance to score two important goals which put his team four goals ahead (32:28) with five minutes remaining. It was enough for Lazarov and his team-mates to routinely finish the job, which has almost secured the Macedonians a place in the eight-finals.