Qatar Advances to the Final of the Asian Cup After a Thrilling 3-2 Victory Over Iran

Qatar, the host country, secured a 3-2 victory over Iran today, earning a spot in the final of the Asian Football Cup. In the upcoming final, Qatar will face Jordan, which triumphed over South Korea 2-0 in the other semifinal held yesterday.

The match took place at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, with Qatar’s goals coming from Jassem Abdulsallam (17th min. 1st half), Akram Afif (43rd min. 1st half), and Almoez Ali (37th min. 2nd half). Sardar Azmoun (4th min. 1st half) had initially given Iran the lead, and Alireza Jahanbakhsh (6th min. 2nd half) temporarily equalized with a penalty shot.

As the defending champions, Qatar will face Jordan in the final on Saturday at Lusail Stadium, the same venue where Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup for Argentina in 2022.

Almoez Ali was the top scorer when Qatar claimed the Asian Cup in 2019, but in this edition, he had been overshadowed by his attacking partner, Akram Afif.

Sardar Azmoun gave Iran an early lead with a spectacular bicycle kick four minutes into the game. Qatar responded at the 17th minute with Jassem Gaber’s goal after a deflection from an opponent, and Afif solidified his position as the tournament’s leading scorer with a beautiful solo effort at the 43rd minute.

Iran was reduced to 10 men when Shoja Khalilzadeh was sent off for a foul on Afif. However, Jahanbakhsh came close to forcing extra time by hitting the post in the 14th minute of injury time.

Qatar didn’t advance beyond the group stage of the 2022 World Cup it hosted, exiting without a win in three matches. However, that is now a distant memory as Márquez López’s team is on the verge of repeating as Asian champions, a title they first secured in 2019.

 

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