Muscat: Iraq scored their goals in the first half and Kuwait in the second 45 minutes as both teams registered valuable wins in Group A of the AFC U-19 Championship Uzbekistan 2020 qualifiers on Tuesday.
The two had settled for a 1-1 draw in Sunday’s meeting and needed wins to stay in sight of a place in the 2020 Finals, with Iraq defeating Pakistan 3-0 and Kuwait triumphing by the same margin against Oman.
The win took Kuwait to the top of the standings on seven points, having defeated Pakistan 2-1 in their opening match. Palestine are second on six, with a match in hand, while Iraq’s tally from two matches is four.
Iraq 3-0 Pakistan
Both teams took to the Seeb Sports Stadium pitch in Muscat knowing they needed three points to keep their respective campaigns alive.
Iraq were in a better position, having drawn with Kuwait, but Pakistan came into the tie with their hopes hanging by a thread after having lost their earlier two matches.
However, Iraq quickly took control of the match and Pakistan were left chasing shadows as the West Asians went in search of the opening goal.
It took them only eight minutes to take the lead, with forward Hussein Abdullah Lawend finding the back of the net.
Pakistan regrouped but their resistance lasted only till the 24th minute as Ali Shawqi Alzawar doubled Iraq’s lead, before adding a third nine minutes from the break.
Iraq were unable to find a way to goal in the second half but with a win they needed secured, they can now look forward to playing Palestine on Thursday while Pakistan will end their campaign against hosts Oman.
Oman 0-3 Kuwait
Kuwait turned on the power in the second half to register a 3-0 win over Oman, ensuring they stayed in sight of a place in the 2020 Finals.
Having settled for a draw with Iraq on Sunday, Kuwait couldn’t find a way past an Oman side who also desperately needed the three points after having lost 1-0 to Palestine on Matchday One.
Kuwait’s perseverance, however, paid off in the second half as a quickfire brace from Ebrahim Marzouq set them on the road to victory.
Marzouq opened the scoring three minutes into the second half, and then doubled his side’s advantage in the 55th minute.
Oman’s task was made harder when Mohammed Moosa Al-Hinai picked up a second yellow card in the 74th minute, with substitute Fahad Alajmi taking advantage of the one-man advantage to score Kuwait’s third in the 84th minute.
Qatar (Group B), Tajikistan (Group C), Islamic Republic of Iran (Group D), Bahrain (Group E), Saudi Arabia (Group F), Malaysia (Group G), Australia (Group H), Korea Republic (Group I), Japan (Group J) and Indonesia (Group K) have already secured qualification as group winners.
The Group A winners and the four best second-placed sides will join the qualified teams and hosts Uzbekistan in the Finals.
Should Uzbekistan, who finished runners-up in Group F of the Qualifiers, emerge as one of the best four second-placed teams, the fifth-best runners-up will advance to the Finals.