Iranian national football team has missed the chance to play in the Asian Cup semifinals after it suffered a defeat to Iraq in the penalty shootouts.
The two west Asian neighbors faced each other in Canberra Stadium on Friday in the most fascinating match of the competition that saw Iraqi eagles win the game 7-6 in the penalty shootouts.
Iranian and Iraqi players ended the 120-minute marathon in a 3-3 draw with Sardar Azmoun scoring in the middle of the first half. Ahmad Yasin's equalizer in 56th minutes remained until the final whistle.
In the extra times, Iraqi took the lead twice with goals from Yunes Mahmoud and Zargham Esmaeil, but it was Iran's Morteza Pouraliganji and Reza Goochannejhad who managed to level the score line two minutes before the end of the game.
The Iraqis were benefiting the most from an Iranian team with a man down when Mehrdad Pooladi was sent off in the first half.
Iran and Iraq started the bitter penalty shootouts with two misses in the initial shots. All other efforts were successful until Iran's Vahid Amiri missed the seventh attempt by hitting the ball into the post and leaving Iraq's Salam Shakir with the chance to finish the hardly-fought match in favor of the Iraqis.
Iraq, now in the semifinals of the Asian Cup for the third time in history, will face South Korea in the semis. The last match of the quarterfinals later on Friday will see Japan meeting the United Arab Emirates to decide who will face Australian hosts in the other semifinal encounter.
The Iranian Fans:
The Iraqi Fans:
... Payvand News - 01/20/15 ... --