AFC Asian Cup 2023: Defending champions Qatar edge past Iran in dramatic semi-final clash
Almoez Ali scored the winner for Qatar.
The defending champions showed their resilience and determination throughout the match even after going down earlier, it was a very open and exciting match where both teams had plenty of chance of scoring and with the crowd on their side, they were confident throughout the match and now will want to defend their title in the finale.
Sardar Azmoun opened the score for Iran in the 3rd minute from a long throw-in and he finished off in style to give Iran a very early lead in the game. The hosts didn’t take a lot of time to equalize the game, Jaseem from outside the box scored in the 17th minute of the game but the ball unfortunately got deflected by an Iranian player and it went into the box despite the goalkeeper trying to stop it. It was a well-deserving equalizer goal for the host nation. The head coach of the Iran team got a yellow card for arguing with the fourth official.
After the equalizer goal, Qatar was a more dominant side and was creating more chances. At minute 31, Akram Afif wins the ball in the opposition’s half and shoots from the edge of the box but his first attempt was saved by the goalkeeper. The ball ricocheted and then Afif’s second attempt went over the bar.
Qatar was continuously creating chances and finally, Akram Afif helped the host nation to take the lead and showed his quality on the ball once again. He helped Qatar to take the lead in the game in the 42nd minute when he dribbled past an Iranian player and scored a wonderful right-footed curler where Beiranvand had no chance to stop the ball.
Iran did put a lot of pressure on Qatar just before halftime but was not able to score at that time. They started well in the second half and just after a few minutes there was a handball by a Qatari player which earlier was not given but after the referee checked in the VAR he decided to give a penalty to Iran which was converted by Jahan Bakhsh in 51st minute very calmly.
After the equaliser both teams were just cancelling each other out with their attacking football and the intensity of the game was very high. Iran was putting a lot of pressure by creating more and more chances, Qatar were forced to stay compact and remain in their half.
Almoez Ali scored the third goal for the hosts in the 82nd minute and they scored the goal against the run of play in which Iran was so good but Ali scored a beautiful goal and put the ball into the bottom right corner. VAR checked it and it wasn’t an offside.
Iran was down to ten men when Shoejae tackled Afif in a very reckless way and was shown a red card with the help of VAR. Iran was mounting continuous pressure on Qatar, they hit the post in the additional time but were unlucky to put it into the goal. Iran’s journey ended once again and their dream to win the AFC Asian Cup was shattered.
In a breathtaking display of skill and determination, Qatar emerged victorious with a thrilling 3-2 triumph over Iran. The pitch became a stage for football magic, leaving fans on the edge of their seats, celebrating a triumph etched in the annals of sporting brilliance.
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