Domestic Leagues

Greatest Asian Club Derbies: Iraq

Kuala Lumpur: Having featured the major domestic derbies of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, we turn our focus to the rivalries that highlight the Iraqi Premier League in our latest installment.

Incepted in 1974, the Iraqi Premier League has its fair share of derbies that set the adrenaline pumping with fans eager for their team to claim bragging rights.

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Air Force Club v Al Zawra'a

One of the biggest matches in Iraq, it always attracts a big turnout with Al Zawra'a having won the title 14 times to Air Force Club's six triumphs.

Goals and victories by high margins are the highlights when the two clash, with Al Zawra'a having previously achieved 7-2 and 6-1 wins, while Air Force Club's biggest triumph was 4-0.

The first time the two sides met was in the 1975-1976 season, which Air Force Club won 1-0, while the latest tie ended 1-1.

The two teams also faced off on the Continental stage in 2017, with Air Force Club beating Al Zawra'a 2-1 on aggregate to progress to the West Asia Zonal Final, eventually sealing their second AFC Cup title.

Air Force Club v Al Shorta

Another derby that fans of both sides have relished for decades, given that both are situated practically in the same neighbourhood.

They have met 79 times in the league, with honours even. Air Force have 25 wins to Al Shorta's 24 with 31 stalemates.

The first match was in the 1974-1975 season, which Air Force Club won 1-0 with Falah Hassan scoring the winner. Their latest meeting ended in a goalless draw.

Al Shorta v Al Zawra'a

The Baghdad Derby which regularly sees the Al Shaab Stadium packed to the brim.

Excitement is never in short supply with a 5-1 scoreline Al Zawra'a biggest win while Al Shorta have beaten their rivals 4-1 for their biggest triumph.

Al Zawra'a, however, have a clear lead in the wins column, with 45 victories from 99 matches in all competitions. Al Shorta have won the fixture 20 times, with their most immediate meeting ending in a 1-1 draw.

Air Force Club v Al Talaba

The two blue teams of the Iraq domestic scene who have introduced some of the biggest names in the country's football history.

The likes of Hussein Saeed, Ali Hussein, Habib Jaafar and Younes Mahmoud played for Al Talaba, while Nateq Hashem, Nadhem Shaker, Akram Emanuel and Razzaq Farhan were Air Force Club mainstays.

Al Talaba have five league titles, one behind three-time AFC Cup winners Air Force Club.

They have met 78 times in the league, with Air Force Club winning 29 to Al Talaba's 23. Their most recent meeting favoured current league leaders Air Force Club, who won 1-0.

Al Talaba v Al Zawra'a

A meeting between two teams who have won the league title a combined 19 times, with Al Zawra'a having 14 in their collection.

Some of Iraq's biggest names have featured for both teams, with Hussein Saeed, Ali Hussein, Habib Jaafar and Younes Mahmoud having played for Al Talaba while Falah Hassan, Ali Kadhem, Kareem Saddam and Ahmad Radhi donned Al Zawra'a colours.

Al Zawraa have won 39 of their 79 meetings in the league with Al Talaba having triumphed on 20 occasions.

Poll ends on February 26, 14:00 (UTC+8)

Photo: Al Zawra'a

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