Iran eliminated Asian Cup favorites Japan in the quarterfinals of the tournament after Alireza Jahanbakhsh's injury-time penalty delivered a 2-1 victory for Team Melli at Al Rayyan's Education City Stadium.

Hajime Moriyasu's side led through Hidemasa Morita in the first half and appeared poised to advance to the semifinals until Mohammad Mohebi's 55th-minute equalizer swung the momentum in favor of three-time Asian champions Iran.

Ko Itakura capped off a forgettable outing when he gave away the decisive penalty in the 94th minute, bringing down Iran defender Hossein Kanaani after getting tangled up with center-back partner Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Iran's Alireza Jahanbakhsh (7) scores from the penalty spot in the dying minutes of an Asian Cup football quarterfinal against Japan in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Feb. 3, 2024. (Kyodo)

Jahanbakhsh, teammates with Japan striker Ayase Ueda at Dutch powerhouse Feyenoord, sealed the result with a perfectly placed penalty into the top left corner that gave goalkeeper Zion Suzuki no chance.

The result avenged Iran's 3-0 loss to Japan in the 2019 Asian Cup semifinals in the United Arab Emirates.

Manager Amir Ghalenoei's men will continue their bid to equal Japan's record four continental titles with a semifinal against either Uzbekistan or hosts Qatar on Wednesday.

Kaoru Mitoma (R) dribbles the ball during the second half of Japan's Asian Cup football quarterfinal against Iran on Feb. 3, 2024, in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Kyodo)

"The players and staff had good preparation for the past two days, and it's disappointing as manager I couldn't turn their efforts into a result," Japan manager Moriyasu said.

Morita opened the scoring in the 28th minute after Ueda laid off to the Sporting Lisbon midfielder, who parted a cluster of defenders and drilled a shot that goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could only deflect into the net.

Japan continued to dominate possession and had chances to go further ahead through Ueda and Takefusa Kubo before Mohebi leveled with an assist from Roma's Sardar Azmoun, providing an attacking focal point in the absence of suspended star Mehdi Taremi.

Japan goalkeeper Zion Suzuki (23) reacts after conceding a goal in the second half of an Asian Cup football quarterfinal against Iran in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Feb. 3, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The Samurai Blue were let off the hook in the 63rd minute when Azmoun put the ball in the net but was ruled offside.

Moriyasu tried to put his team back in the driver's seat with the introduction of Kaoru Mitoma and Takumi Minamino off the bench, but the removal of Kubo appeared to blunt their attack.

Japan's Ritsu Doan is pictured in the bench after losing to Iran 2-1 in an Asian Cup football quarterfinal in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Feb. 3, 2024. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

The result marked a disappointing end to a tournament in which Moriyasu's team rarely lived up to their mantle of favorites on the back of a record 10-game winning streak broken by their 2-1 group-stage loss to Iraq.

"We have to think about how we stave off teams who pin us back using their power," Moriyasu said. "We need to raise our individual level first, but the reason for the defeat today was my failure to use the substitutions well."

Captain Wataru Endo said the Japan players would carry the "extremely frustrating" loss against an Iran side that needed penalties to advance from their round-of-16 tie with Syria.

"I have to admit Iran were the better team today," Endo said. "It's been a tournament that made us realize once again it's tough battling in Asia. We aren't done here, we have to return to our clubs and go about our business carrying the sense of frustration."

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