Erbil advances to final 16 in AFC Cup
Yellow Castle team holds top of its group after defeating Shabab Al Ordon 3-2
With the match tied in 2-2 in the 89th minute, Rubiato lined up a free-kick 25 meters from goal and fired in unerringly into the bottom corner of the net to give Erbil all three points.
The match was run at the Grand Hamad Stadium in Jordan with a good number of host team fans and a few fans of the guests.
Erbil enjoyed an excellent start as they went ahead after just four minutes. A corner from the left by Hawar Mulla Mohammed was floated into the box and met by Salah who made no mistake with a first-time shot from close range.
Isam Al Mbaydin tested Erbil goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim with a long- range shot late in the first half but the custodian did well by tipping the ball over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, Rawad received the ball in the box after a scramble and spun to shoot past Hachim to make it 1-1 at half-time.
Erbil turned up the heat at the start of the second half and their pressure was rewarded in the 71st minute as Salah received the ball from Hawar on the edge of the box and went past one defender before letting fly from the edge of box with a shot that flew into the bottom corner with a slight nick of a defender.
But Shabab would not lie down on the game and they were back on level terms in the 80th minute as Shishani controlled the ball in the box before sweeping a low shot past Hachim.
However, in the final minute, the Iraqi side won a free-kick to the right of the Shabab box and Rubiato fired it into the corner of the net.
“This was a great success and good performance from our side as the players followed the tactics and they were the better side in the match. The victory is important because it secured our place in the knockout stage,” said Erbil coach Ayob Odisho.
Odisho added “We played very well especially in the attack but there were some defensive mistakes which affected us and therefore we conceded two goals. We still have a match to play and we must win in order to finish on top of the group.”
Erbil now leads the group by 12 points, two ahead of Bahraini side Riffa, who beat Alay of Kyrgyzstan 2-0 on Tuesday. Shabab have six points and are out of the running for a place in the knock- out stage.
“I’m really disappointed with this defeat because we were trying to get a good result but we failed and we conceded three goals which were bad for us. The defeat means that we are out of contention and that is disappointing because we had high ambitions,” said Shabab Al Ordon coach Raed Assaf.
He also said “The team didn’t put in a good performance. We lacked attacking efficiency while we also made some defensive mistakes.
He thinks missing some key players affected the team’s performances and as a result the team lost a decisive match which was their last chance to remain in the competition.
Erbil FC players endure a training session in Grand Hamad Stadium in Jordan in April 2014.