AFC Asian Cup 2023: Late drama sees Iran eliminate Japan from tournament
(Courtesy : AFC Media)
Iran made their eighth consecutive entry to the semi-finals of the AFC Asian Cup.
Despite Japan’s strong display during most parts of the game, they conceded a crucial penalty in the final minutes, resulting in their loss to the Iranian side.
The match commenced with the tournament favorites, Japan, displaying a positive mindset and asserting their dominance. They secured the lead in the 28th minute of the game through a goal scored by Hidemasa Morita. The midfielder conducted a decisive play through the middle and attempted to place the ball to the right of the Iranian goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand.
Iran, known for their physical prowess, devised their tactics and gradually gained control of the match. In the 40th minute, Saman Ghoddos missed a significant opportunity as he found himself in open space inside the box, attempting a shot towards the far post, but narrowly missing the mark. During the final 15 minutes of the first half, the Persian Lions dominated the midfield with their relentless attacks.
In the second half, the Japanese goalkeeper Zion Suzuki made several pivotal saves to mitigate Iran’s offensive efforts. However, in the 55th minute, Mohammed Mohebi secured the equalizing goal, restoring parity.
The intensity of the match heightened following the equalizer. Even though Japan had possession in their end for most of the time, Iranian players did not hesitate to take risks by advancing into the final third.
The match became increasingly intense as it entered the additional time. Ultimately, Iran’s fortune shone through when they were awarded a penalty in the closing minutes of play. Alireza Jahanbakhsh assumed responsibility and successfully converted the penalty in the 90+6th minute, securing the lead for the Iranian team and ultimately clinching the victory.
Iran will face the winner of the Qatar Vs Uzbekistan match in the semi-final which is scheduled on February 7, 2024.
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