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Bangkok: Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated the Islamic Republic of Iran for winning the inaugural AFC U-20 Futsal Championship after they defeated Iraq 2-0 on Friday night in Bangkok, Thailand.

Both countries will represent Asia at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games Futsal competition in Argentina.

"On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to congratulate the Islamic Republic of Iran for displaying immense quality and consistency to clinch the first-ever AFC U-20 Futsal Championship. Iraq also deserve praise for their efforts and I am confident that both teams will do our continent proud in Buenos Aires next year.

“Tonight’s victory serves as a testament to the exemplary efforts undertaken by Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran and I am confident that this achievement will continue to inspire tomorrow’s generation of players and fans.”

The AFC U-20 Futsal Championship was introduced to provide AFC Member Associations with more opportunities to compete and succeed at the international level, as espoused in the AFC’s Vision and Mission.

Shaikh Salman also commended the Local Organising Committee for hosting a highly-successful competition both off and on the court. After 11 days of highly charged, quick tempo action at the Bangkok Arena, the impact of the championship was also evident across the continent on multiple social media platforms, with the AFC’s Twitter account reaching 824,615 impressions.

In addition, the AFC YouTube channel has registered an impressive 418,439 views, closing in on nearly 2 million minutes of riveting action viewed.

“Futsal in Asia continues to see great progress and rising standards in recent times and the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship exemplifies this growing trend, reinforcing the passion for the great game in the continent.

“I would like to thank Football Association of Thailand and the Local Organising Committee for their hard work and dedication in delivering a memorable and successful competition.”

Friday’s final saw the Islamic Republic of Iran emerge victorious thanks to Sahand Rezapour’s fourth-minute strike and an own goal from Iraq’s Zaid Ali. The victory leaves the Iranians as proud holders of both the U-20 and senior AFC Futsal Championship titles.

Photo: AFC

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