Iraq crowned AFC U-14 Champions
Hamedan: In-form striker Mohanad Ali Kadhim netted a brace as Iraq lifted the AFC U-14 Championship 2014 title after registering a comfortable 3-0 victory over DPR Korea in the final played at the Hajibabaei Stadium on Wednesday.
Kadhim, who was the tournament's leading goalscorer with four goals before the final, took his total tally to six and walked away with the highest goalscorer honours.
After a goalless first half, Kadhim put Iraq 2-0 with goals in the 32nd and 43rd minutes. Mohammed Ridha, who was later declared the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, sealed the emphatic win with a 55th minute strike..
DPR Korea were shadows of their previous selves, and apart from a clear-cut chance in the 16th minute forward Jong In-sok fired wide, the Korean outfit remained subdued throughout.
It was a miss they would rue, as Kadhim, a constant threat to the DPR Korea goal, broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Credit must go to defender Habeeb Mohammed who delievered an excellent pass for Kadhim to convert and give Iraq the lead.
DPR took a gamble and started trying to take the game to Iraq, but the West Asians showed exactly is required of champions, by duly extending their lead. A brilliant display of one-touch passing sent Kadhim clear and the Baghdad-born forward finishing coolly past goalkeeper Kim Kum-song shortly before half-time.
The game was sealed by dead-ball specialist Ridha who volleyed home with five minutes left on the clock to seal an emphatic Iraq win.
This is Iraq’s second continental age-group title of the year following their title winning campaign at the AFC U-22 Championship. They were also in the semi-finals and final respectively in the previous editions of the AFC U-16 and U-19 Championships.