AFC ASIAN CUP

Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium

Referee: Yuici Nishimura | Attendance: 7113

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0 - 1

FT

Iraq

  • Walid Abbas 90' +4' OG

Abbas own goal gifts Iraq win

A last-minute own goal by Walid Abbas handed defending champions Iraq a crucial victory over the United Arab Emirates to keep alive their hopes of a place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals.

• Sidka hails Iraq spirit
• Duerden: Matchday two review

The luckless defender stuck out a foot in the hope of cutting out Younis Mahmoud's cross but poked the ball into the back of his own net.

The win means Iraq have three points in Group D and a draw with North Korea in their final match will be enough to send them into the last eight.

Only the woodwork denied UAE the lead after 23 minutes when Hamdan Al Kamali's glancing header from a Subait Khater corner bounced back off the bar.

Srecko Katanec's side had another chance minutes later when Ali Al Wehaibi lofted a cross into the area from the byline and Ismaeil Matar headed on for the unmarked Ahmad Khalil, but the young striker could only loop a header harmlessly over the goal.

The UAE continued to dominate and only a superb one-handed save by Mohammed Kassid from a well-struck Khater free-kick kept them at bay just after the half-hour.

UAE goalkeeper Majed Nasser had largely been a spectator in the first half but had to be alert in the 39th minute to push away a rasping Nashat Akram drive from outside the box.

Qusay Muneer then delivered a fine shot from outside the area that had Nasser beaten but bounced back off the crossbar as Iraq finished the first half strongly.

Khater struck a free-kick straight at Kassid eight minutes into the second half for UAE before some neat individual skill by Ismail Al Hammadi deserved a goal in the 63rd minute. The midfielder smartly controlled a high ball on the right of the box, cleverly turned flicked the ball between two defenders and hit a stinging drive that came back off the underside of the bar.

But they had a lucky escape two minutes later when Nasser raced out to punch away a cross. He failed to make contact with the ball but Ala'a Abdulzehra headed just wide of the open goal.

Substitute Kerrar Jasim nodded wide in the 80th minute as once again Iraq began to dominate the latter stages of the half.

And they secured victory at the death when Mahdi Kareem's deep cross found Mahmoud inside the area and the Iraq striker played a low ball across the face of goal that Abbas diverted into his own goal.

  • Sidka hails Iraq spirit

    Iraq coach Wolfgang Sidka claimed the Asian Cup defending champions made their

    own luck as they beat the United Arab Emirates to stay in contention for a

    quarter-final place.

    A last-gasp own goal by Walid Abbas gave them victory at Al Rayyan Stadium, and

    Iraq will progress to the next round if they avoid defeat to North Korea on

    Wednesday. They now have three points in Group D after Abbas diverted Younis Mahmoud's

    cross into his own net.

    Sidka said: "It (the goal) was a little bit lucky but we tried our best to

    force our luck in the game. Sometimes if you have bad luck, you must force your luck to get it back. I

    believe that today we managed to force our own luck and we did it with a

    fighting spirit.

    "It was not easy for us, but there are no easy matches. We had to fight for

    the victory and we did it.''

    UAE coach Srecko Katanec urged his players to forget about the defeat and

    switch their focus to preparing for their crunch clash with Iran in their final

    group game.

    "We have one more game to play and we must try to concentrate in the next four

    days,'' Katanec said. "We have lost this match now but we can't change that and

    we have one more game left.

    "In training we will work on everything. It is a shock for us to concede the

    goal after the good game that we had. The players must be strong because they

    are professional players.''