Iraq defeat Singapore 4-2

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:37 IST

Younis Mahmoud scored once in each half and helped rally Iraq to a four-two win over Singapore in an AFC qualifier on Wednesday.

Iraq defeat Singapore 4-2

Al Ain City:

Younis Mahmoud scored once in each half and helped rally Iraq to a four-two win over Singapore in an AFC qualifier on Wednesday. The win guaranteed the Iraqis a fourth successive appearance in the finals of the Asian Cup. Singapore went into the Group E fixture knowing they needed all three points to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year's finals and attacked from the off. The mindset paid early dividends. Sharil Ishak's cross was headed home by veteran striker Egmar Goncalves within the first nine minutes. Iraq pressed hard for the equaliser. Singapore had Lionel Lewis to thank for ensuring that their lead was not short-lived, the goalkeeper denying Nashat Akram with a superb one-handed save in the 17th minute. From that point on, Mahmoud took over. One near-miss, and then the striker found his scoring touch. The 'desert fox' levelled the scores in fine style, ten minutes from half time. A quarter of an hour after the restart, he was bundled over by substitute Mohammed Isa. He fired the free-kick against the crossbar and before Singapore could clear the danger Mahdi Karim took possession near the by-line and drilled the ball into the net via a deflection off the back of a defender. Iraq had barely finished celebrating when Singapore equalised, Khairul Amri sweeping home a low free-kick, two minutes later. Mahmoud almost grabbed Iraq's third when he flicked the ball over the advancing Lewis but the former Wrexham defender Daniel Bennett read the danger superbly and slid in to clear off the line. But there was nothing Bennett or Lewis could do when the Al Gharafa forward scored his second and Iraq's third in the 68th minute with a stunning 30-yard strike that dipped over the Singapore 'keeper and into the net. Deep into stoppage time, Hawar Taher headed in a fourth goal for the quarter-finalists in the China 2004 tournament. (AP)

Topics : Football
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