Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], Oct. 22 : Iran booked their place in the final of the ongoing Kabaddi World Cup after edging past Republic of Korea 28-22 in a closely-fought last four contest here at TransArena Stadium last evening.
Despite a slow start, Iran's defence scored 11 points and came up with points at crucial moments to thwart Republic of Korea raiders.
Iran's star man Meraj Sheykh had a brilliant game and scored seven points whereas Abozar Mighani had four tackle points.
Jang Kun Lee who has had a terrific tournament failed to deliver in the second half as Republic of Korea bowed out of the tournament.
Meraj Sheykh opened Iran's account with a do-or-die raid in the third minute and immediately doubled it with a tackle point to lead 2-0.
Jang Kun Lee scored Republic of Korea's first point in the fourth minute as they trailed 1-2. Republic of Korea leveled the game at 2-2 in the sixth minute as they sent Abolfazel to the bench. There were quite a few empty raids by both teams as they were not taking too many chances. Jang Kun Lee came up with a brilliant raid to send Fazel Atrachali on the bench as Republic of Korea led 5-3 after 10 minutes.
Republic of Korea inflicted the first all out of the match in the 12th minute to lead 10-4. Iran's mighty defence wasn't able to handle Jang Kun Lee as he scored three raid points in the first 13 minutes.
Republic of Korea led 12-6 after 15 minutes as their defence did a fine job containing Iranian raiders.
Meraj Sheykh made a crucial raid in the 18th minute to send Jang Kun Lee to the bench as Iran trailed 8-13.
Iran scored two raid points in the last two minutes of the second half as they trailed 11-13 at the break.
Iran began the second half strongly as they inflicted the all out in the 22nd minute to level the game at 15-15.
Iran took their biggest lead of the match as they led 19-15 in the 25th minute. Dong Geon Lee scored with a crucial do-or-die raid in the 27th minute as Republic of Korea trailed 17-19.
Jang Kun Lee had a very quiet 10 minutes in the second half as Iran led 21-17 after 30 minutes. It was an extremely close game and could have gone either way and Republic of Korea trailed 20-23 in the 35th minute.
For Iran, Fazel Atrachali marshaled the defence well but failed to score a single point. The Korean defence could muster just four tackle points in 35 minutes. Abozar Mighani sent Kang Kun Lee to the bench in 35th minute as Iran led 24-20. Gholamabbasi scored with a brilliant two-point raid in the 36th minute to give Iran a six-point lead. Iran's defence rose to the occasion in the last five minutes of the match and didn't allow Republic of Korea raiders any space to score points.
Meraj Sheykh, who was Iran's best player on the night, failed with a do-or-die raid, as Republic of Korea forced a super tackle in the 39th minute to trail 22-26.
But Fazel Atrachali scored his first point of the match in the 39th minute to extend Iran's lead to five points.
Iran held on their nerve as they beat Republic of Korea 28-22 to march into the finals. With the win, Iran have set up a title clash with India, who thrashed Thailand 73-20 to reach the finals.