Iraq won a thrilling game against Turkmenistan to keep alive their hopes of an Asian Cup quarter-final place.
There were three goals in the last eight minutes of the game, and the Turkmen played half an hour with ten men after a sending off.
Having lost their opener to Uzbekistan, a win was vital to Iraq’s hope of progressing in the competition.
Hawar Mohammed opened the scoring for Iraq on 12 minutes, heading home a Sadir free-kick. The lead lasted just two minutes however, Bayramov nodding in a measured cross from Kuliyev to equalise.
Two yellow cards in five minutes saw the dismissal of Turkmenistan’s Mingazov on the hour and so it was little surprise when Iraq took the lead again, Razzaq Farhan scored the goal. Again it was only two minutes before the equaliser, the Turkmen netting against the odds with a deflected free-kick from Kuliyev.
But in the game’s final twist, Munir headed in unmarked two minutes from time to win the game 3-2 for the Iraqis.
Elsewhere, a last minute goal by substitute Mohamed Hubail gave Bahrain a 1-1 draw against Qatar in their second match of the Asian Cup in Beijing. Meanwhile China had an impressive win over Indonesia, winning 5-0 with two goals from Shao Jiayi.
Qatar, who sacked coach Phillipe Troussier after their first game in the tournament, made five changes from the defeat against Indonesia on Sunday, and looked a far more confident side. Stand-in manager Saeed Al Mesned was upbeat about the display: “My team had a very good game today,” he said.
Bahrain coach Srecko Juricic was also satisfied with the result, but felt the penalty given against his side just before the hour was harsh. Seyd Bechir fell after a challenge by Hassan Al Mosawi and Wesam Rizik converted from the spot.
Indonesia, who beat Qatar in their opening game, were on the wrong end of a thrashing by China. The home nation, who had been unimpressive in their opening draw against Bahrain, overwhelmed their opponents to go top of group A.
Arie Haan, the Chinese coach spoke after the game: “I’m pleased that we played like that after a game like we had before,” he said.
Haan added he was encouraged how the Chinese exploited their man advantage after Alexander Pulalo’s dismissal after half and hour: “I told the players just to play their normal game and be patient and it worked. The pleasant thing from the past few months is that we are starting to score goals regularly,” he said.
Bulgarian Ivan Kolev, who coaches Indonesia was rueful in his assessment: “Playing a team like China with 11 players is hard enough, playing them with 10 men … we just couldn’t do anything,” he said.
As the teams head towards their final games on Sunday, Group A is in the balance with all four teams still in with a chance of making the quarter-finals.