Qatar inched closer to defending their AFC Asian Cup™ title with a 3-2 triumph over the Islamic Republic of Iran in their Qatar 2023 semi-final at the Al Thumama Stadium on Wednesday.
Qatar managed to reach their second Asian Cup final after beating Iran 3-2 in a thrilling match. Almoez Ali netted the winning goal eight minutes before the end in a thrilling last four clash, breaking the Maroons’ six-game losing streak against Team Melli to set up a final showdown with Jordan.
Both teams made two changes to their starting lineups. Iran’s Ardeshir Ghalehnoy brought back Ehsan Hajisafi and Mehdi Taremi, while Marquez Lopes gave starts to Yusuf Abdurisag and Homam Ahmed.
Team Melli took an early lead, with Sardar Azmoun capitalizing on Qatar’s defensive lapse to score an acrobatic effort in the fourth minute.
Qatar quickly leveled the score 13 minutes later, as Akram Afif’s pass set up Jassem Gaber for a shot deflected off Saeid Ezatohali, beating Alireza Beiranvand.
Despite Iran’s dominance in possession, Qatar relied on counterattacks. They almost took the lead in the 32nd minute when Afif seized on a loose back pass but fired straight at Beiranvand.
Just before halftime, Afif unleashed a powerful strike from a pass by Ahmed Fathy to give Qatar a 2-1 lead.
Iran wasted no time in the second half, equalizing in the 51st minute from the penalty spot after a VAR review deemed Fathy had handled the ball. Jahanbakhsh calmly converted the penalty.
Qatar regained the lead in the 82nd minute, with Abdulaziz Hatem setting up Ali for an easy finish.
Despite Iran’s efforts in additional time, Qatar held on for victory, with Jahanbakhsh hitting the upright and Barsham denying Iran with a goal-line clearance.