Football: Iraq beat Iran on penalties in Asian Cup thriller, will meet South Korea in semis

Dhurgham Ismael of Iraq (centre) celebrates scoring a penalty goal in extra time against Iran during their AFC Asian Cup quarter-final football match in Canberra on Jan 23, 2015. Iraq beat Iran 7-6 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the Asian C
Dhurgham Ismael of Iraq (centre) celebrates scoring a penalty goal in extra time against Iran during their AFC Asian Cup quarter-final football match in Canberra on Jan 23, 2015. Iraq beat Iran 7-6 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the Asian Cup on Friday, after the two Middle Eastern rivals played out one of the most extraordinary matches in the tournament's history. -- PHOTO: AFP

CANBERRA (REUTERS) - Iraq beat Iran 7-6 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the Asian Cup on Friday, after the two Middle Eastern rivals played out one of the most extraordinary matches in the tournament's history.

With the tension almost unbearable both on and off the pitch, Iraq fought back to beat a 10-man Iran after the teams finished tied at 1-1 at the end of normal time and then 3-3 after extra time.

Defender Salam Shakir calmly converted the winning penalty after Vahid Amiry had missed for Iran, sending Iraq through to the semi-finals against South Korea.

Iran initially took the lead when Sardar Azmoun scored a brilliant goal in the first half but were forced to retreat into defence, when Mehrdad Pooladi was sent off in the 43rd minute after he was booked for a second time.

Iraq drew level in the 56th minute when Ahmed Yasin equalised, then took the lead two minutes into extra time through Younis Mahmoud, who famously scored the winner in the 2007 Asian Cup final.

Iran tied the scores again, when Morteza Pouraliganji climbed above the defence and headed in an equaliser in the 103rd minute. But their fate seemed sealed when the same player gave away a penalty for bringing down Yaser Kasim as he was bearing down on goal.

Dhurgham Ismail calmly converted from the spot kick with just four minutes left on the clock, before Iran substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad tied the scores again two minutes from the end of a classic, heart-stopping match.

As expected, there was a heavy police presence at Canberra Stadium for the clash between the two teams with tensions high.