Art And Culture

Iran’s Dramatic End in a Day of Surprises

Iran’s Dramatic End  in a Day of SurprisesIran’s Dramatic End  in a Day of Surprises

Iran said a bitter goodbye to the Asian Cup games after losing a sensational match against Iraq on Friday (Jan 23).

Despite the tragic loss, Team Melli's coach Carlos Queiroz expressed huge pride in his players’ fighting spirit after their efforts in a blockbuster match against Iraq that finished 3-3 after 120 minutes before they fell to a narrow 7-6 penalty shootout loss in the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 quarter-final at Canberra Stadium on Friday.

According to AFC website, Queiroz saw his side take the lead midway through the first half courtesy of striker Sardar Azmoun before being forced to play with 10 men from the 42nd minute after defender Mehrdad Pooladi was sent off for two bookable offences.

Ahmed Yasin then drew Iraq level on 56 minutes but in extra-time Iran equalized twice through Morteza Pouraliganji and Reza Ghoochannejhad after going 2-1 and 3-2 down during the additional 30 minutes.

But after Iran substitute Vahid Amiri drilled his penalty onto the post in sudden death, Salam Shakir held his nerve to claim victory for Iraq with the subsequent, and winning, spot-kick.

Played Well

"The Iranian players did everything possible to turn the game our way. I am very proud of the way they played and the way they fought," said Queiroz.

"They have all my love and support because of the way they fought for the whole 120 minutes and penalties. I feel very, very proud to be coach of this team and these players.”

In the semi-finals, Iraq will play against South Korea on Monday at Stadium Australia in Sydney.

In the other match of the day, defending champions Japan crashed out of the cup games on penalties as Shinji Kagawa missed the decisive spot-kick and the United Arab Emirates secured a 5-4 win after a 1-1 draw between the teams at Stadium Australia on Friday.

Mahdi Ali’s team will face tournament hosts Australia in Newcastle on January 27 as they aim to reach the final for the first time on foreign soil after losing to Saudi Arabia in the final in Abu Dhabi 19 years ago.