sportsdunia.com – DOHA, High-flying Iran will face a determined Qatar in the second semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday, February 7.
The hosts enter this contest on the back of a stunning run of form. They have won nine of their last 10 games, drawing the other one. In fact, Iran are unbeaten across competitions since losing to USA back in November 2022. They have been fantastic at this tournament, winning all of their group games to qualify as winners of Group C. They then knocked out Syria on penalties before sending Japan packing with a last-gasp 2-1 win in the semis. Iran will look to continue in the same way.
Qatar, on the other hand, are slightly worse off than their next opponents in terms of form. They have won eight of their last 10 games across competitions, losing the other two. At the Asian Cup, they won all their games in Group A to qualify as winners. They then knocked Palestine and later Uzbekistan on penalties to advance to the semis. The 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts will look to make it to the final with another strong performance in their next game.
On that note, let’s take a look at the team news for both sides.
Team News & Predicted Lineups
Manager Amir Ghalenoei and his squad suffered casualties in terms of long-term injuries earlier this year. Defenders Majid Hosseini (ankle) and Sadegh Moharrami (ACL) suffered setbacks in mid-January and are likely to be ruled out until the summer at least.
Meanwhile, forward Mehdi Taremi, who was sent off for two bookable offences in Iran’s win over Syria, will be eligible to play after serving his suspension.
Considering the above factors, Ghalenoei is likely to field the same XI he did in the round of 16.
Predicted XI: Alireza Beiranvand, Ramin Rezaiean, Roozbeh Cheshmi, Shoja Khalizadeh, Ehsan Hajsafi (C), Saman Ghoddos, Saeid Ezatolahi, Alireza Jahanbaksh, Mehdi Taremi, Mehdi Ghayedi, Sardar Azmoun.
Manager Tintin Marquez has played his fair share of hands at switching up Qatar’s XIs at the AFC Asian Cup this time around. With three goalkeeper switches at the tournament, Marquez has already raised quite a few eyebrows. However, they will be without third-choice custodian Salah Zakaria, who has suffered an injury and will miss out.
Meanwhile, Farrukh Sayfiev and Sultan Al Brake could also be doubtful for their next game after they both suffered injuries in the quarter-final win against Uzbekistan.
Marquez will likely stick with the same lineup he fielded in the last game and hope they get the job done.
Predicted XI: Meshaal Aissa Barsham (GK), Tarek Salman, Almahdi Ali, Lucas Mendes, Pedro Miguel, Jassem Gaber Abdulsallam, Ahmed Fathi, Hassan Al Haydos (C), Mohammed Waad, Almoez Ali, Akram Afif.
Iran vs Qatar Head-to-Head & Prediction
Last 5 Games Head-to-Head
- Qatar 0-3 Iran (10/23)
- Qatar 1-2 Iran (12/18)
- Qatar 0-1 Iran (03/17)
- Iran 2-0 Qatar (09/16)
- Qatar 0-1 Iran (01/15)
As you can see, Iran have absolutely dominated meetings between the two teams in recent history. They have won each of their last five encounters across competitions, scoring nine goals and conceding just once.
Iran have kept four clean sheets against Qatar in their last five. However, they have kept just one clean sheet at the Asian Cup so far and will look to shut up shop. The Qataris, on the other hand, have kept three clean sheets at this edition and look solid.
This could be another tight contest but history will take its toll and Iran will come out on top in this game to qualify for the final.
Prediction: Iran 2-1 Qatar.