Doha: Asian Cup debutants Tajikistan booked their place in the quarter-finals with a dramatic 5-3 penalty shootout win over the UAE after a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Alisher Shukurov buried the final spot-kick in Doha to send the Central Asians — ranked 106th in the world — into a showdown with either Jordan or the 2007 champions Iraq.
Tajikistan goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov saved from Caio Canedo with the UAE’s second penalty of the shootout.
Tajikistan looked set for a famous victory when Vakhdat Khanonov scored with a 30th-minute header, only for Khalil Al Hammadi to equalise in the 95th minute and send the game into extra-time.
The UAE reached the semi-finals at the last two Asian Cups but Paulo Bento’s side bow out to a Tajikistan side ranked more than 40 places lower than them.
Led by charismatic Croat Petar Segrt, Tajikistan drew with China and beat Lebanon in the first round to advance as Group A runners-up.
They will learn who they play in the quarter-finals when Iraq take on Jordan in the last 16 on Monday.
UAE made a bright start and Tajikistan goalkeeper Yatimov had to be switched on to turn a fierce Fabio Lima free kick round the post as early as the second minute.
But the UAE suffered a blow when midfielder Abdalla Ramadan went down with a knee injury and had to be replaced in the 16th minute.
Tajikistan came close to opening the scoring soon after when Shervoni Mabatshoev poked the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Khalid Eisa but saw it roll wide of the post.
Khanonov got the job done 10 minutes later, climbing above Canedo to connect with a header that Eisa fumbled over the line.
The UAE made all the running early in the second half but Tajikistan had the first real chance when Ehson Panjshanbe forced a save from Eisa.
Dzhalilov was wasteful when he blazed wide with the goal at his mercy after making a lung-busting run to get into the box in the 71st minute.
The UAE hit the post in injury time before Hammadi notched a dramatic equaliser, rising to head home Ali Saleh’s free kick and send the game into extra time.
Australia win 4-0
Meanwhile, Australia set up a tasty quarter-final clash against South Korea or Saudi Arabia with a 4-0 win over a spirited but limited Indonesia on Sunday.
The Socceroos are trying to win the title for a second time and were again solid rather than spectacular in getting the job done in a niggly last-16 encounter in Doha.
Two goals in the first half, a deflected own goal on 12 minutes and a diving header by Martin Boyle on the stroke of the break, put Graham Arnold’s side on their way.
With Indonesia out of gas at the end, Craig Goodwin volleyed in a rebound on 89 minutes for 3-0 and defender Harry Souttar made it four in stoppage time.
The scoreline flattered Australia but it was their third clean sheet in four matches and they have conceded only once.
Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia face Jurgen Klinsmann’s South Korea on Tuesday for the right to meet them.
Indonesia were making their first appearance in the knockout rounds of the competition and were ranked 121 places below a physically imposing Australia.
They produced the first chance on six minutes when Netherlands-born attacker Rafael Struick prodded the ball first time narrowly over the bar.
Indonesia were behind soon after, Jackson Irvine crossing hard and low from the right and the ball flicking off the boot of defender Elkan Baggott and wrong-footing goalkeeper Ernando Ari.
Arnold puffed out his cheeks in relief midway through the half when Indonesia’s Justin Hubner, who plays for the under-21 team of Premier League Wolves, let fly from distance.
Hubner, another born in the Netherlands, did not really get hold of it and goalkeeper Maty Ryan saved easily.
There was not too much in it for a lot of the half, a physical game reduced to niggly fouls and Indonesia twice letting fly with ambitious attempts that flew over the target.
Indonesia’s vocal fans dominated at the compact Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium but they were silenced for a second time on 45 minutes when Scotland-born Boyle connected on a delicious Gethin Jones cross to stoop in for 2-0.
Mitchell Duke should have made it 3-0 with 10 minutes left but he missed the target with only the goalkeeper to beat, before Goodwin made the game safe.
Souttar headed in at the death to embellish the scoreline.