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Iraq make winning start, beat KSA 2-0 in Gulf Cup match
January 07, 2013
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MANAMA: Iraq made a winning start to their 21st Gulf Cup campaign in Bahrain on Sunday with a 2-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, in a match played in front of a packed crowed at the Shaikh Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.

A goal on either side of half-time lifted the Iraqis to the well-deserved victory. Salam Shakir scored the opener before Saudi defender Osama Hawsawi netted an own goal with less than 20 minutes to play.

Shakir put the Iraqis ahead 18 minutes into the contest with a glancing header that came off a long cross by teammate Ahmed Yaseen.

Yaseen’s assist was perfectly hit into the bottom corner of goal, and it left Saudi goalkeeper Waleed Abdulla no chance to stop.

The Saudis pressed hard for an equaliser, most especially to begin a fast-paced second half when they had arguably their best chances.

Salem Al Dossary had a powerful long range shot from just outside the box but it was brilliantly collected by Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri after a single bounce.

Osama Al Mawlid then had a fine solo run from the half-field line straight into the penalty area before unleashing a shot from close range that was once again stopped by an inspired Sabri.

The contest was then virtually all but decided when Iraq went two goals ahead with Hawsawi’s costly error.

The towering Saudi defender mistakenly headed a cross off a free-kick back into his own net, leaving his team stunned and literally deflating their hopes of a comeback.

The Iraqis did well to hold on to their two-goal advantage up until the final whistle.

Agencies

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