Kings Cup 2023: Iraq Knock Out India After 5-4 Win On Penalties To Reach Maiden Final

Kings Cup 2023: Iraq Knock Out India After 5-4 Win On Penalties To Reach Maiden Final

Iraq won 5-4 on penalties against India after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time to reach their maiden final at the Kings Cup.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, September 07, 2023, 10:36 PM IST
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In a gripping Kings Cup semi-final clash, India, without Sunil Chhetri, experienced heartbreak as they conceded a late, contentious penalty to Iraq, ultimately losing the match in a dramatic penalty shootout.

India held a 2-1 lead until the 79th minute when the referee awarded Iraq a controversial penalty. The decision came after a tussle between two defenders and Iraq's Aymen Ghadhban inside the box. While the penalty appeared debatable, Ghadhban confidently converted the spot-kick, leveling the match at 2-2 and forcing a penalty shootout.

Iraq Triumphs in Penalty Shootout

The penalty shootout ended 5-4 in Iraq's favor, with Brandon Fernandez missing a crucial shot as it hit the post and went wide. Under the tournament's rules, the match goes to penalties if the scores remain level during regulation time, without any extra time.

India's Admirable Performance

Despite missing their star striker and captain, Sunil Chhetri, who was unavailable due to recent fatherhood, India delivered a commendable performance. Throughout the semi-final against Iraq, ranked higher at 70th in FIFA charts compared to India's 99th, the Indian team competed on equal terms.

Goals and Send-off

Mahesh Naorem gave India the lead in the 16th minute, followed by Karim Ali's equalizing penalty goal in the 28th minute. India then took the lead in the 51st minute, courtesy of an own goal by Iraq's captain and goalkeeper, Jalal Hasan, due to an unfortunate error.

Injury stoppage time saw Iraq reduced to 10 men as Zidane Iqbal was red-carded for elbowing Brandon Fernandez. However, India could not capitalize on this advantage, as the regulation time ended within a minute, with no extra time played.

End of India's Unbeaten Streak

This loss marked the end of India's impressive 11-match unbeaten streak in the year. In previous encounters, India had faced Iraq seven times, with Iraq emerging victorious in six matches and one ending in a draw. Their last encounter occurred in November 2010, in an international friendly match, which Iraq won 2-0.

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