Iraq’s World Cup dream al­most spoiled

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS -

The mach was run at the Sultan Qa­boos Sta­dium in Mus­cat on Tues­day. The only goal of the match was scored in the first-half in­jury-time by Is­mail Al-Ajmi whose header eas­ily past Iraq’s goal­keeper, Noor Sabri.

The goal boosted Oman’s chances of qual­i­fy­ing for the 2014 World Cup and put Oman in sec­ond in Group B on nine points, ahead of Aus­tralia, Jor­dan and Iraq, ly­ing last with only five points.

With time run­ning out on an un­event­ful first half, Is­mail al-Ajmi headed the win­ner past keeper Noor Sabri Ab­bas and striker Hu­mam Tareq Faraj, who failed to clear it off the line.

The vic­tory moves Oman into sec­ond in Group B be­hind Ja­pan which be­came the first team to qual­ify for the World Cup in Brazil with a 1-1 draw against Aus­tralia. Oman and Ja­pan only have a match re­main­ing while Aus­tralia, Iraq and Jor­dan have two matches.

Oman had sev­eral coun­ter­at­tacks in the sec­ond half that nearly dou­bled its lead. Al-Ajmi fired a close-range strike from just in­side the area that Ab­bas swat­ted away in the 60th minute and Ab­dul Aziz twice got be­hind the de­fense and fired shots just wide in the 80th and 88th minute.

Iraq’s only real chance in the first half came on 39 min­utes, from a long pass from the right which found Alaa Abulzahra free on the left but Oman’s Raad Ibrahim Salih was alert to the dan­ger and was able to clear the ball for a cor­ner.

Iraq rarely chal­lenged Omani keeper Faiyz al-Rusheidi, as the Omani de­fense largely con­tained striker Younus Mah­mood. The Iraqi cap­tain had a good chance in the 87th when he took a pass in the area but fired a weak shot just to the right of the goal.

Iraq still has a math­e­mat­i­cal chance of ad­vanc­ing, but is bot­tom of the group and its two re­main­ing matches are against Asian heavy­weights Ja­pan and Aus­tralia.

Iraq's Muthana Khalid (R) chal­lenges Oman's Is­mail al-Ajmi (L) dur­ing their group B Asian zone qual­i­fy­ing foot­ball match for the 2014 World Cup in Mus­cat, on June 04, 2013.

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