FIFA U17: Dawood’s brace helps Iraq net maiden U-17 World Cup win

Striker Mohammad Dawood made the difference as the Asian U-17 champion defeated Chile 3-0.

The Chilean defence was made jittery by the threat of striker Mohammad Dawood.   -  AP


Iraq sailed on Mohammad Dawood’s super striking ability to upset Latin American runner-up Chile 3-0 in the second match of Group F. In the process, the reigning Asian U-17 champion celebrated its first win in the history of the tournament and brightened its prospects of qualifying in the pre-quarterfinals of the present edition.

Match Centre

Dawood, whose speed and goal-poaching ability is already a talk of the tournament, scored the first two goals with spectacular efforts before forcing the Chilean defender Diego Valencia to score an own goal. It was the presence of the mercurial striker from the Iraqi club Al Naft SC that virtually created the difference between the two teams. Iraq, which had lost all its three matches in the first U-17 World Cup appearance in UAE in 2013, thus made a spectacular turnaround, holding former champion Mexico 1-1 in the opening round before realising the historic win against Chile.

Dawood found the target first in the sixth minute off a fine solo effort, before doubling the lead in the 68th minute with an outstanding free-kick conversion. Valencia, in the haste to clear the ball before Dawood could spell another danger, shot an own goal in the events unfolding after an 81st minute corner. Iraq leaped to the second spot in the group, netting four points.

Dawood’s magic

Chile made four changes to the side that lost 4-0 against England in the first round but failed to contain the Iraqis, who played a clever long-ball game designed to release Dawood, the lone striker upfront. The first goal was scored in the sixth minute when Dawood foxed a tentative Chilean defence while reaching a long floater issued from his team’s own half. Despite a swarm of Chielan defenders closing in on Dawood, he found the net, deceiving the Chilean goalkeeper Rodrigo Cancino with a rasping shot from the near angle.

Rattled by the early setback, Chile failed to regroup as Iraq tightened its defence. While its opponent was served by the outstanding ability of a striker, the South American side failed find a scorer who could convert the chances coming its way. Iraq took the game beyond the grasp of Chile in the 68th minute when Dawood got his second goal, curling the free-kick brilliantly past the Chilean wall and the goalkeeper into the net.

With Chile doing little to fight back, Iraq got its third goal getting Diego Valencia to score the suicidal goal while going for an abortive clearance. Dawood could easily have walked into the history books, scoring the first hat-trick for Iraq, had he not missed a penalty that came his way in the added time. The Iraqi striker, who till now did not look to make any mistake, took a poor attempt from the spot that was easily saved by Cancino.

The result

Iraq 3 (Mohammed Dawood 6, 68, Diego Valencia 81-og) bt Chile 0.

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