Iraq stun hosts Qatar in Gulf Cup opener

Doha: Iraq’s Mohammed Qasim scored two crucial goals to guide his team to an exciting 2-1 win over hosts Qatar in the opening match of the 24th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup tournament at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Tuesday.

Qasim was the star of the Group A match and especially in the first half as he scored the two important goals within 10 minutes.

The home crowd was stunned in the 18th minute when Qasim’s long cross into the box went directly into the Qatar net as the defenders and the goalkeeper missed it completely. Qasim increased the lead when his strong shot gave no chance for Qatar goalkeeper in the 26th minute to make it 2-0 for Iraq.

At the beginning of the second half, coach Sanchez’s boys registered a strong comeback as they reduced the deficit when substitute Abdulaziz Hatim found the target. But then on, Iraq players managed to defend well and denied Qatar strikers including Akram Afif, Almoez Ali and Hassan al Haydos.

With this victory, Iraq picked their first three points in the showpiece tournament and boosted their chances of making to the semifinals. The Asian Cup Champions will have to win their next match to stay in the tournament.