Goalkeeper Ali Reza Qurbani was the hero for Afghanistan, after saving a penalty and scoring the winning strike in the shootout against Turkmenistan to earn their spot in the semi-finals.
Afghanistan were 3-2 up at halftime with the goals coming from Mohammad Ali Fayazi, who hit a double in the fourth and eighth minutes, while Hadi Jafari added the third in the 13th.
Turkmenistan’s goals were scored by Gurbangeldi Sähedow in the sixth and Allaberdi Meredow added one in the eighth.
Afghanistan – who pipped UAE 4-3 in their final group tie – scored in the 27th minute through Jawad Haidari to put the score at 4-2.
The hosts however, fought back to level the score 4-4, through Bäşimow Abdy in the 33rd and Ataýew Watan in the 38th to send the match into extra time.
Seyed Mehdi Hashemi struck in the 46th minute of the second extra time but it only took a minute for Turkmenistan to draw level through Daýanç Garajaýew to take the match into penalties.
But lady luck was not on Garajaýew’s side as his effort was saved by Qurbani at 5-5, leaving the Afganistan goalkeeper to score the winner against his opposite number Berdimyrat Sapardurdyýew.
“I always support my team 100 percent. I told them ‘I’ll take it and we’ll win’. I wanted to score and to win. I always take penalties when we train every day. I’m one of the best penalty shooters on our team. And I showed I can save them as well,” said Qurbani.
The 5th edition of Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is underway with athletes from 49 countries from Asia and the Pacific region in the Turkmen Republic.