Iraq secures spot in AFC U20 Finals
Muscat - Iraq emerged Group A winner of the AFC U19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 Qualifiers, which concluded at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Saturday despite a 3-3 draw with hosts Oman in its final match.
Abdullah Mohammed al Suwayid's strike in the second minute of added time secured Iraq the point that saw it edge Kuwait to top spot on goal-difference and book a spot in the Finals.
Both Iraq and Kuwait - which drew 3-3 with Palestine - had to come from behind to salvage a point as the race for a spot in the Finals went down to the wire. Iraq went into the tie knowing all it had to do was avoid defeat to advance to the 2020 Uzbekistan Finals but came up against an Oman side determined to end its campaign on a high note.
Midfielder Omar al Salti gave Oman the lead in the 22nd minute, which was doubled by Osama al Hadabi five minutes later. Iraq fought back and narrowed the deficit through captain Muntadher Mohammed in the 34th minute.
Oman’s Hadabi scored his second of the night just before the half-time whistle was blown. Hussein Abdullah Lawend scored five minutes into the second half to give Iraq hope and it was rewarded right at the end as defender Suwayid struck the equaliser, which sealed its place in the 2020 Finals.