AFC U-16: Mohammed treble knocks out Japan

Mohammed Dawood scored a hat-trick against Japan to take Iraq to the AFC under-16 title clash on Sunday.

AFC under 16 Iran Japan

A hat-trick from Mohammed Dawood saw Iraq secure its place in the final.   -  AFC

Iraq edged out tournament favourite Japan 4-2 in an enthralling game here, at the GMC stadium, in Bambolim on Thursday. Mohammed Dawood’s hat-trick separated the two sides as Iraq will have its opportunity to win the title on Sunday.

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Iraq created the better chances in the first 10 minutes having the lion’s share of the possession. The defending champion’s intricate passes paid off in the 18th minute as midfielder Dawood broke the deadlock. The number seven received the pass on the right side of the penalty box, went past a defender and put his laces through the ball. The shot deflected off Japan’s Seko Ayumu, leaving the 'keeper stranded as the ball nestled in the back of the net.

This was the first goal Japan conceded in this tournament and it woke the team up. It started to up the ante as captain Fukuoka Shimpei pulled the strings from the middle of the park. And in the 29th minute, Japan restored parity through Hiroto Yamada, who rifled home Hirakawa Rei’s chipped through ball.

The equaliser proved to be the catalyst Japan needed as it continued to dominate proceedings. In the 42nd minute, Yamada doubled his tally after his low cross, from inside the box, missed everybody, including the intended target Taisei Miyashiro, as the ball snuck into Iraq’s goal. Japan went into the break with a 2-1 lead.

The second half was a totally different story. Chasing the game, Iraq looked for the equaliser and it did come in the 67th minute. Muntadher Mohammed tapped in from six yards out after Japan failed to clear its lines from a freekick.

With both teams searching for the winner, the game entered a frantic pace. Japan’s Miyashiro went closest to finding the winner, twice, as he hit the cross bar and the post.

Those misses proved fatal as Iraq took the lead in the 81st minute from the penalty spot. Mohammed Dawood was brought down in the box by Seko Ayumu and the midfielder took it upon himself to score.

The icing on the cake came in the 90th minute as Dawood was once again brought down in the box. He stepped up to the plate and bagged his hat-trick.

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