Iraq defeated West Asian neighbours Iran in the quarterfinals of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Canberra on Friday, winning 7-6 on penalties.
At the end of regular time, the two teams were tied at 1-1 and were deadlocked 3-3 after extra time. In the shoot out, Iraq defender Salam Shakir converted and Iranian midfielder Vahid Amiri hit the woodwork in the third round of the sudden death.
Iraq will take on fellow pre-tournament favourites South Korea in a semifinal in Sydney on Monday.
20-year-old Azmoun, one of the rising stars of Asian football who is nicknamed the Iranian Messi, rose majestically in the 24th minute to meet an accurate cross from the right by defender Vouria Ghafouri. He headed powerfully past Iraq goalkeeper Jalal Hassan to put Carlos Queiroz's men ahead.
Just as it appeared Iran would head to half-time on a high, they were reduced to 10 men in the 43rd minute. Defender Mehrdad Pooladi received his second yellow of the evening for simulation from referee Ben Williams when he went down after an altercation with Iraq custodian Hassan.
Iraq began the second half on a high and came close to scoring through a 48th minute free-kick by Swindon Town midfielder Yaser Kasim. But Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi brought off a fine save, tipping the ball over over the bar.
In the 56th minute, midfielder Ahmed Yaseen Ghani slotted in for Iraq. A ball from the left across the Iraq goalmouth by Humam Tareq Faraj was missed by Iraq's 2007 hero Younus Mahmood and fell to Ghani at the far post who made no mistake.
After the teams played out the remainder of regular time, Iraq's talismanic striker Younus finally got on the scoresheet in the 93rd minute. His diving header past the Iran custodian after a botched Iranian clearance appeared to decide the game in extra time.
However, Iran defender Morteza Pouraliganji restored parity in the 103rd minute, heading in off a corner.
Just as it appeared Iran would take the game to penalties, Iraq were awarded a penalty in the 116th minute for a foul on Ahmed Yaseen by Pouraliganji. Iraq defender Dhurgam Ismael calmly slotted home.
However, there was a final twist to the tale as Iran forward Reza Ghoochannejhad headed in off a corner three minutes later to make it 3-3 bringing the game to the drama of penalty shootout.
The teams were again locked 4-4 after the shootout with Ehsan Hajsafi missing for Iran and Saad Abdulameer for Iran and the game was eventually decided in the sudden death.
Iran have not won the Asian Cup since 1976.