Group C: Myanmar 2-3 Iraq
Taipei: Iraq beat Myanmar 3-2 in their 2018 AFC Futsal Championship Group C encounter on Sunday as Haitham Abbas Bawei’s men sealed a spot in the quarter-finals with a match to spare.
Iraq close their group campaign against powerhouse Islamic Republic of Iran on Tuesday but having defeated China PR 4-2 on Matchday One, they are assured of, at least, second place in the group.
Iraq changed their approach on Sunday, pressing Myanmar early following their slow start against China PR.
Both teams were evenly matched, trading blows in the opening minutes with Iraq’s Hasan Ali Jabbar coming close to scoring only to find Myanmar goalkeeper Zwe Pyae Sone up to the task.
With five minutes left on the clock, Iraq took the lead following Ko Ko Lwin’s dismissal for handling the ball in the penalty box as Waleed Khalid Fahem made no mistake from the spot to give Haitham Abbas Bawei’s side the advantage.
Iraq continued to apply pressure on their opponents but Rafid Hameed Eesa was dispossessed in his half and Myanmar’s Khin Zaw Lin equalised following Myo Myint Soe’s assist.
Iraq’s plan worked in the second half as they took the lead through Hasan Ali Jabbar's header in the 28th minute after Zwe fumbled collecting a cross.
Myanmar replied four minutes later after an unmarked Pyae Phyo Maung tapped into an empty net following an indirect free-kick to level the score.
But Iraq were ahead again moments later, Fahem’s sitter flying into an empty net to make it 3-2.
Htay Myint: Myanmar Head Coach
"We knew we had to win, that's why we performed better this time. This is our first time in this tournament, so our players don't have the competition experience. But I'm happy with my team's progress."
Haitham Abbas Bawei: Iraq Head Coach
"I knew it would be a difficult match. We knew Myanmar are a good team, despite losing to Iran. Iran are not only the best in Asia but third in the world. But it will be an experiment for the Iraqi team to go up against them."