AFC U-16: Late goal secures point for Malaysia against Iraq

Iraq missed a chance to seal qualification to the knockout stages of the AFC U-16 Championships after a late rally by Malaysia saw the game end in a 1-1 draw.

Iraq (white) and Malaysia players in action during a group stage game.   -  the-afc.com

A late goal by Aliff helped Malaysia hold Iraq to a 1-1 draw in a Group C league match of the AFC U-16 Championship at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here today.

Iraq, which dominated throughout the match creating several chances, took the lead in the 43rd minute through Mohammed Ridha Jalil Mezher. On the other hand, Malaysia, which was seen defending the citadel for most part of the game, found the equaliser through Aliff as late as the 84th minute.

The draw takes Iraq's tally to four points from two matches, while Malaysia opened its account with a point from two games.

Both the teams started on a cautious note, trying to gauge each other’s strength. Iraq slowly took control over proceedings and was seen trying to invade the rival goal more often. In the 6th minute, ity had a chance but Mohammed Dawood saw his header going out off a cross from the left by Ammar Mohammed Dheyaa Al-Lami.

Malaysia goalkeeper Firdaus Imran Bin Fadhil did well to make a couple of good saves after Iraq missed a few close chances.

After sustained pressure the Malaysian citadel fell two minutes before the break. Muntadher Mohammed crossed from the left for Ahmed Srtip Omar, who chested the ball down to unmarked Mohammed Ridha Jalil Mezher, who in turn essayed a left footer to find the back of the net.

The trend continued in the second half as well but Iraq wasted a penalty and failed to increase its lead in the 58th minute when Muntadher Mohammed directed his penalty kick straight at keeper Firdaus, who blocked it.

Malaysia came close to scoring once in each half but Iraq’s keeper Ali Ibadi Jabbar did well to stop those. However, Aliff managed to find the equaliser with a well directed shot from inside the box that found the roof of the net to the far post.

Iraq then made desperate attempts to score the winner but the rival keeper did well to put out substitute Saleh Mahdi Saleh’s shot and deny it a win.

In the other Group C encounter, Oman and Korea Republic settled for a goalless draw to split the points at the Nehru Stadium here today.

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