Beaten by Brazil on the opening day, Turkish coach Hakan Demir’s fell to a 71-69 loss to Cote d’Ivoire after a thrilling final few minutes in Jakarta’s Indonesia Arena on Monday to stay bottom of Group G.
The Africans exploited Iran’s four turnovers in five possessions by grabbing the lead in a tense fourth quarter. The stretch also included the fifth foul for Hamed Haddadi, who had been Iran’s focal point on offense in the second half.
Even though Arsalan Kazemi scored off an inbounds play to give Iran a 69-68 advantage with 13 seconds left, Solo Diabate was the hero late as his courageous drive to the rim gave him the chance to win the game from the foul line.
Behnam Yakhchali hit a clutch three-point shot with one minute remaining and scored a game-high 19 points, while Nisre Zouzoua topped the score for the Ivorians with 17.
“After the last game against Brazil our response was very important. We started the game very well and had the lead for most of the game. They made better decisions in the last minute and won. We fought until the end and have to keep on going like this,” Yakhchali said after the game.
With defending champion Spain coming Iran’s way today, the Asian side is unlikely to finish as the continent’s top team at the World Cup after cohost Japan came out on top against Finland (98-88) in Group E on the preceding night.