Defending champions Iraq are through to the last four after overcoming the UAE 3-1 after extra-time ©AFC

Defending champions Iraq needed extra-time to overcome a resolute United Arab Emirates side as they reached the semi-final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championships with a 3-1 victory at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Doha.

After a closely-fought contest had finished all square at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Mohanad Abdulraheem and Amjad Attwan Kadhim found the net in the additional period to send their side through to the last four.

In the other quarter final to take place today, Moon Chang-jin’s 23rd minute strike gave South Korea a narrow triumph in a tense affair with Jordan at the Suhein Bin Hamad Stadium, also in Doha.

Iraq are now due to meet Japan in the semi-finals before South Korea clash with hosts Qatar.

Both matches will take place on Tuesday (January 26).

The two finalists and the winner of the third place playoff will qualify automatically for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. 

The UAE had the better of a tight first-half and were unfortunate not to go in front when Yousif Saeed’s header from a pinpoint Abdulla Kazim cross cannoned back off the crossbar.

The reigning champions had struggled in the opening period but found their rhythm early in the second-half as Ali Faez tested UAE goalkeeper Ahmad Shambih with a well-struck free kick.

South Korea remain on course for a record eighth straight Olympic appearance as they beat Jordan 1-0
South Korea remain on course for a record eighth straight Olympic appearance as they beat Jordan 1-0 ©AFC

With just 15 minutes to go, the UAE broke the deadlock as Alaa Ali Mhawi inadvertently directed  Mohamed Al Akberi’s delivery into his own net under pressure from Saeed.

The Iraqi side were behind for just two minutes as Ali Hisny capitalised on a defensive error from Mohamed Surour before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Neither side could find a winner as the game went to extra-time and just as the end of the first period loomed, Abdulraheem fired home to give his side a slender 2-1 advantage.

The UAE then poured forward in search of a late leveller and left themselves exposed at the back, allowing Abdulraheem to unselfishly square for Kadhim to complete a nervy win for Iraq.

South Korea, Olympic bronze medallists at London 2012, started impressively in their clash with Jordan and could have taken the lead early on but Lee Seul-chan’s deflected effort flashed past the post.

Shortly after, Korea's early pressure paid off as Ryu Seung-woo collected Kwon Chang-hoon’s low curling cross from the left before laying it off to Moon, who calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the set.

Hwang Hee-chan came close to doubling his side’s advantage five minutes later as he was sent clean through but Jordan goalkeeper Baha Faisal was up to the task, keeping the Koreans at bay with a superb save from close range.

Jordan then went in search of an equaliser but it proved elusive as South Korea kept their pursuit of a record eighth consecutive Olympic appearance alive.