Doha, January 31, 2024, The Europe Today: Iran demonstrated resilience, surviving a tense match against Syria in the Asian Cup last-16 clash on Wednesday, ultimately prevailing 5-3 in a penalty shootout after the game concluded 1-1 in regular and extra time. The victory sets up an intriguing quarterfinal encounter with Japan, the four-times champions.
Despite Syria’s commendable efforts to contain Iran, the latter was handed an advantage in the first half when Aiham Ousou’s deliberate foul on Mehdi Taremi resulted in a penalty. Taremi confidently converted the spot kick, marking his third goal of the tournament.
However, Syria leveled the score when substitute Pablo Sabbag won a penalty, beating the offside trap and getting fouled by Iran’s goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. Omar Khribin calmly slotted home the penalty, making it 1-1.
Iran faced further challenges as Taremi received a second yellow card, resulting in a red card and reducing the team to 10 players for the final minutes and extra time. Despite the numerical disadvantage, Iran held on and forced the game into a penalty shootout.
In the shootout, Syria’s Fahd Youssef had his penalty saved by goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, while Iran converted all their spot kicks. Ehsan Hajsafi netted the decisive penalty, securing Iran’s 5-3 win.
The victory extends Coach Amir Ghalenoei’s unbeaten run to 15 games since taking charge of Team Melli in March last year. Iran will now face Japan in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup.