Doha, 1 February 2024 - Goals from the spot from Mehdi Taremi and Omar Khrbin either side of the halftime break meant the two sides were level after 90 minutes and there was nothing to separate them after extra time before Alireza Beiranvand helped his side settle the tie on penalties.
Team Melli had their first big chance of the game after just eight minutes when Alireza Jahanbakhsh fed Sardar Azmoun inside the box. The AS Roma forward’s first-time shot was parried by goalkeeper Ahmed Madanieh, but the ball was spilled back for Azmoun who hit it on the half-volley with his left but skied it on the rebound.
Madanieh showed his quality again with a fine diving save in the 25th minute to tip away Mehdi Ghayedi’s strike from outside the box for a corner kick that nearly produced a goal when the ball found its way to IR Iran captain Ehsan Hajsafi who hit it from the edge of the box, but was also denied by the Syrian goalkeeper.
The Syrian goalkeeper’s resilience was finally broken 10 minutes before the break when Mehdi Taremi stepped up and sent Madanieh the wrong way from the penalty spot for his third goal of the campaign and IR Iran’s opener.
The first test for goalkeeper Beiranvand came just six minutes before the end of the first half when left-back Mouaiad Al Ajjan carried the ball forward and hit an effort from outside the box that the Iranian goalkeeper dealt with confidently.
Coach Amir Ghalenoei’s men thought they had doubled their lead seven minutes after the restart when Ramin Rezaeian’s corner was headed by Azmoun past the Syrian goalkeeper, only for Abdulrahman Weiss to clear it off the goal line.
Substitute Pablo Sabbag made an instant impact for Syria after coming off the bench just before the hour mark, with his very first touch of the ball, he moved behind the Iranian defence and looked to round the goalkeeper who brought him down conceding a penalty. Khrbin stepped up and coolly slotted home past Beiranvand to equalise for the Eagles of Qasioun.
IR Iran suffered a big blow in added time of the second half when Taremi was sent-off for a second bookable offence, leaving his side with ten men going into the 30 minutes of extra time.
Two periods of intense action in the middle of the pitch with clear cut chances in sparse supply saw the two teams head into the penalty shootout at the end of 120 minutes.
Karim Ansarifard scored, Rezaeian, Omid Ebrahimi, Mehdi Torabi and Ehsan Hajsafi scored for Iran, while Beiranvand’s save from Fahd Youssef was the decisive moment, earning Team Melli a place in the AFC Asian Cup quarter-finals for the eighth time in a row.