February 07, (THEWILL) – A scintillating Asian Cup semi-final between Qatar and Iran saw a match for the ages end with the hosts progressing to face Jordan in the final. Qatar eventually prevailed 3-2 amid chaotic and thrilling scenes, with star forward Almoez Ali netting a brilliant late winner after Akram Afif and Jassem Gaber had cancelled out Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Sardar Azmoun goals for Iran.
The game ebbed and flowed from start to finish, living up to its billing as an Asian heavyweight clash. Iran had 22 shots to Qatar’s 15, though the hosts were more clinical, belying their superior finishing. Azmoun’s stunning early overhead kick was matched by Afif’s powerful strike, while Jassem’s deflected effort brought Qatar level after they had a strong penalty appeal waived away.
The key moment came after Jahanbakhsh converted a controversial VAR penalty to make it 2-2. Ali showed composure beyond his years to control a loose ball and fire home the winner to break Iranian hearts. Akram Afif was instrumental, with a goal, an assist and numerous dangerous dribbles.
For Iran, it marked a seventh straight Asian Cup semi-final loss, as their 1976 title remains their last final appearance. Qatar snapped a six-game losing run against Iran in extending their unbeaten streak to 13 matches, with Ali delivering again like in 2019.
Backed by a raucous home crowd, Qatar now stand one win away from retaining their Asian crown.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.