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Iran pulled off a stunning 2-1 victory over Japan in the Asian Cup, securing their spot in the semifinals.

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DOHA:
In an Asian Cup quarter-final showdown at Education City Stadium on Saturday, Iran secured a 2-1 victory over four-time champions Japan, with skipper Alireza Jahanbakhsh converting a penalty in stoppage time. This triumph marked Iran’s first win against Japan in 19 years and extended coach Amir Ghalenoei’s unbeaten streak to 16 matches since his appointment in March.

The match began with both teams engaging in a physical encounter, and Japan took the lead through Hidemasa Morita’s goal, eluding four defenders to beat goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. However, Iran leveled the score ten minutes into the second half with a splendid passing sequence finished off by Mohammad Mohebi.

Iran dominated proceedings post-equalizer, mounting continuous attacks, and finally broke the deadlock in added time of the second half. Japan’s Ko Itakura’s error led to a penalty after he fouled Hossein Kanani in the box, allowing Jahanbakhsh to score decisively.

Later on Saturday, Iran awaited their semi-final opponent, which would be determined by the outcome of the match between defending champions Qatar and Uzbekistan. In the other semi-final, Jordan would face South Korea.

In another Asian Cup match, Australia suffered a 2-1 defeat in extra time to South Korea on Friday. Despite taking the lead through Craig Goodwin, Australia failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities, with Mitchell Duke squandering two chances. South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan and Son Heung-min turned the tide with their goals, sealing Australia’s fate. Aiden O’Neill’s red card further compounded Australia’s woes, leaving coach Graham Arnold “devastated” by their missed opportunities.

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