BANGKOK, July 21 (Reuters) - Striker Younis Mahmoud scored twice to give Iraq a convincing 2-0 victory over Vietnam in an entertaining Asian Cup quarter-final on Saturday.
The Iraqi captain popped up unmarked inside the area to head
Nashat Akram's lofted free kick into the net after two minutes
and set the tone for the rest of the match.
Iraq were always on the attack and doubled their lead in the
65th minute when Mahmoud fired an inch-perfect free kick over
the Vietnam wall and into the corner.
The victory was marred, however, by news that two people had
been killed and 15 others wounded when Iraqis fired weapons into
the air during celebrations in Baghdad on Saturday.
It was fourth-time lucky for Iraq, who have been knocked out
at the quarter-final stage in the last three Asian Cups.
Their Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira, however, said he was
not satisfied with the performance.
'I hope we can play much better in the next game, it was
good, but I'm not satisfied,' he told a news conference.
'We were not so positive, we relaxed after the goal, and
this is dangerous.
Vieira said it was too early to talk about the possibility
of Iraq winning the competition.
'We have a right to dream but we have to keep our feet on
the floor,' he said.
Vietnam rarely threatened but could have equalised on the
stroke of halftime when Chau Phong Hoa darted down the left and
cut the ball back to the unmarked Nguyen Minh Phuong, whose
powerful low shot was blocked by the Iraqi defence.
A vibrant atmosphere made up for the vast number of empty
seats at the Rajamangala stadium, where flag-waving Vietnamese
and Iraqi fans dressed in national colours blew horns and
pounded on drums.
Mahmoud almost made it a hat-trick two minutes after his
second goal when he side-footed the ball over the bar, and was
agonisingly close in the dying seconds when he was put clean
through on goal and shot wide of the target.
Vietnam coach Alfred Rieldl admitted his side were totally
outplayed, but commended them for their performance in the
'We had 90 minutes and we didn't even have one chance to win
the game,' he said.
'We caused a sensation in Vietnam to reach the
quarter-finals. No one expected us to get this far.'
Iraq will meet the winners of Sunday's match between South
Korea and Iran in the semi-finals in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.