MATCH REPORT: Iraq 2-0 Palestine

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guaranteed their progression through to the knockout stages with a second-half 2-0 win over battling Asian Cup newcomers .

A scoreless first half was turned around three minutes into the second, when Iraq captain Younis Mahmood landed the first strike, while Ahmed Yasin secured the second and final goal.

A number of shots were attempted by the Iraqis in the first half, while Palestine failed to register an attempt with just over 30 percent of the possession.

Palestine managed six shots in the second half, but the strength of Radhi Shenaishil’s men in front of 10,235 fans in Canberra Stadium was too much for the contested nation to handle.

Mahmood, whose 73rd minute header won the 2007 Asian Cup, opened the scoring in the 48th minute of this match as well with another header after Palestinian defender Abdallatif Al Bahdari made a poor clearance.

Less than 10 minutes later, Iraq had a chance to double their lead when Ahmed Harbi brought down Columbus Crew-based Justin Meram in the penalty area.

Mahmood failed to convert the penalty, which was saved when Tawfiq Abduhammad correctly guessed the direction of his shot.

The Lions of Mesopotamia left the scoring of their second goal for another 40 minutes, when Ahmed Yasin found the target through a pack of legs in the 88th minute.

While Palestine exit their Asian Cup debut without points and just one goal scored in the second round against Jordan, few can deny the emotional victory achieved by their appearance. Iraq, meanwhile, will continue in the competition and remain in Canberra in order to face Iran on Friday.

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