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Iraq Confirmed As Asian Cup Semifinalist Protest Dismissed

Iraq's national soccer team was confirmed as an Asian Cup semifinalist after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) dismissed a protest from Iran on January 25.

Iraq beat Iran on penalties in the quarterfinals in Canberra on January 23 but Iran submitted a formal protest, asking for the result to be overturned.

Iran alleged that Iraqi midfielder Alaa Abdul-Zahra should have not been allowed to play because he had failed a doping test while playing for an Iranian club side last year.

After discussing the case in a meeting on January 25, the AFC Disciplinary Committee announced that it "deliberated the matter based on its merits, and decided that the protest was unfounded."

Iraq will play against South Korea in the January 26 semifinals. Iraq won the 2007 Asian Cup, defeating South Korea along the way in the semifinals.

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and AFP