Thu 22 Jul, 2004 07:42 am
Iraq dominated for long periods against Turkmenistan
Iraq down Turkmenistan 3-2
Young Iraqi team down Turkmenistan in five-goal Asian Cup thriller to breathe life into their Asian Cup campaign.
CHENGDU, China - The footballers from war-torn Iraq overcame a late fightback from 10-man Turkmenistan to breathe life into their Asian Cup campaign with a pulsating 3-2 victory here Thursday.
A nerve-jangling finale saw three goals in the last 10 minutes, Iraq taking the lead through skipper Razzaq Farhan only to see Turkmenistan scramble an equaliser before midfielder Qusay Munir headed in a dramatic winner.
It was yet another rollercoaster performance from Iraq's footballers, who have overcome the odds and the ravages of war to qualify for the Asian Cup and next month's Olympics.
Beaten in their opening Group C match against Uzbekistan, Iraq, who are fielding their Olympic squad in China, now face a clash with bitter rivals Saudi Arabia on Monday with a quarter-final place at stake.
Saudi Arabia play Uzbekistan in Thursday's late game.
Iraq's victory was no less than they deserved after they dominated for long periods against a Turkmenistan side that had surprised many by holding the Saudis to a 2-2 draw in an earlier group match.
Midfielder Hawar Mohammed gave Iraq the lead after just 12 minutes, taking advantage of slack marking to direct a firm header past Turkmenistan goalkeeper Yevgeniy Naboychenko.
But with three minutes Turkmenistan had levelled. Begenchmuhammed Kuliyev beat his man and burst down the right before placing a pinpoint cross onto the stooping head of Vladimir Bayramov.
That was Turkmenistan's best moment of the half and thereafter it was Iraq who eked out the goalscoring chances, with striker Razzaq the main source of scoring opportunities.
With the scores level at half-time, Iraq came out fighting in the second half and took control after Turkmenistan's Kamil Mingazov was sent off in the 60th minute for two yellow cards in the space of three minutes.
Turkmenistan managed to hold out but their resistance was broken in the 80th minute. Ahmed Manajid crashed a 25-yard strike off the crossbar and Razzaq was on hand to nod home.
Turkmenistan swept back to equalise through a deflected Kuliyev free-kick but Iraq were not to be denied. Hawar crossed and an unmarked Qusay glanced in the winner.
And Qatar sack Troussier, after they lost 2:1 against Indonesia last weekend.
China hammers Indonesia 5-0; Bahrain draws Qatar 1-1
That is still the work from German Bernd Stange. Also a good coach.
Granted, the Iraqi team is playing with more confidence now that they don't have to worry about having their feet caned when they lose.