LNTUP

Mohammed Dawood steals the show as Iraq goes past Chile

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Chilean football is going through a bad phase as their senior team who are reigning Copa America champions, have failed to qualify for the World Cup next year in Russia. While their junior team, who have hosted the U17 World Cup last time out, has been very average with their performance in India. The South American giants faced a heavy defeat against USA and now another 3-0 defeat against Iraq

That’s because in Mohammed Dawood, Chile ran into a one-man demolition squad. On way to their first win in the U-17 World Cup, Dawood scored two of Iraq’s three goals, the other being an own-goal from Chile’s Diego Valencia in the 82nd minute.

The star from Baghdad could have got a hattrick but missed the penalty he had won in the second-half stoppage time, after he was felled by Gaston Zuniga.

With four points from two games, Iraq are second in Group F and a draw away from making it to the Round of 16. While Wednesday’s result may not compare with Iran’s decimation of Germany, it would still be a major upset.

For the second time in as many matches, Iraq went into half-time with the lead. And for the second time, it was Dawood who got them there. The target man missed his first attempt but left-back Yerco Oyanedel’s failure to clear it encapsulated Chile’s poor show so far, gave him a second opportunity. Dawood cannoned it in at Rodrigo Cancino’s near post in the sixth minute.

Mohammed Dawood

Every time Iraq set a move going, Dawood, standing with the rival defensive line, asked for the ball to be played in front and backed himself to take control. By now, this much has been known about him but Dawood is so good at it that Mexico first and Chile on Wednesday found it difficult to stop him. Every time he get the ball he outwits the opponent’s defence and goes past them with ease.

Like the first goal, the second, in the 68th minute too was of Dawood’s own doing. He hared past Zuniga and Martin Lara and was about to enter the penalty area when Lara clipped him from behind. Dawood curled the free-kick around the ‘wall’ and into the bottom corner. There’s more to him than being turbo-charged.

Later Diego Valencia’s own goal at the 81st minute increased their lead further and now the Iraqis knew that a draw in their last match against England will be enough to go through to the next round.

Iraq’s preparations have been far from adequate but along with what Syria nearly achieved and what Egypt have, this is another proof of how football has more than survived in times of severe strife.

Here’s the Match highlights: