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Tashkent: A late winner from Firas Mohammed booked Iraq's place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Championship following a see-sawing match with Jordan on Friday that saw two late goals hand them a 4-3 victory.

After Samer Samih’s 5th minute strike had sent the Jordanians into the break with a narrow lead a thrilling second half saw both sides have a man sent-off and six goals fly in during a dramatic contest. 

Jordan scored again through Nooreddin Atef and a second from Samih only for Iraq to pull level three times through Waleed Khalid, Rafid Hameed and Salim Faisal before Mohammed scored the late winner. 

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“We expected a difficult match but after the Jordanian red card our players had real belief,” said Iraq coach Haitham Abbas.

“We moved well and the pitch became more open. Once we scored one I felt we could get another as the players appeared calm and confident.”

Jordan were the first on the scoreboard and it was their talismanic number ten who put them in front. 

Ahmed Arab’s well-weighted pass found Samih who drove home Jordan’s first goal of the tournament.

Iraq were not as fluent as they had been in their opening victory over China and both Rafid Hameed and Salim Faisal blasted powerful shots wide of the Jordanian goal midway through the opening period. 

Jordan knew that only a win would keep alive their chances of making it through to the quarter-finals, after Iran had earlier defeated China, and they impressed as the half wore on.

After Khalid had lost possession Atef teed up Samih who found himself one-on-one with Mohammed Noor only to direct his shot straight at the Iraqi goalkeeper.

Another mistake from Iraq, this time with three minutes remaining in the half, saw Samih presented with another good goalscoring chance but once again he was unable to find a way past Noor as Jordan went to the break with a 1-0 lead. 

Iraq drew level within the first minute of the re-start as Hameed played a delightful ball across the face of goal to find an unmarked Khalid at the back post who prodded home to make it 1-1.

Five minutes later though Jordan were back in front after Atef was teed by Mohammad Alzuod to blast home a powerful effort from the right that left Noor with no chance.

The see-sawing contest then saw Iraq draw level for the second time when Hameed robbed Alzuod of possession in the middle of the Jordanian half and fire past Khaled Awad to make it 2-2 with 12 minutes remaining.

Barely a minute after that Iraq had Hasan Ali Jabbar sent off for a deliberate handball just outside the penalty box and Samih blasted home the resulting set-piece to put Jordan 3-2 up. 

In a frenetic second half there was to be further drama as firstly Jordan saw Ibrahim Qandeel red-carded following a tussle with Mustafa Bachay and then Salim Faisal blasted home a goal on 36 minutes to make it 3-3. 

That gave Iraq a noticeable boost and they poured on further pressure with Mohammad grabbing a 37th minute winner to hand Iraq a thrilling 4-3 win that saw them progress to the quarter-finals along with Iran.

“We played a very strong game, our preparation was only six months and perhaps that showed in the end physically,” said Jordan coach Saleh Abu Jafer.

“We could have won this match but at the crucial points we lost our concentration. But I’m sure there is a bright future for futsal in Jordan.”

Photo: AFC

 

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