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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: Iraq upsets Portugal 4-2 in Olympic soccer

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posted on Aug, 12 2004 @ 05:17 PM
PATRAS, Greece (AP) - In its first Olympic competition since its country was shattered by war, Iraq upset 10-man Portugal 4-2 on Thursday in a gritty, come-from-behind victory as about 200 chanting fans cheered and jumped wildly.

Portugal ended the match with 10 men after Boa Morte was ejected for rough play. As the Portuguese player left the field, he was showered with dozens of plastic bottles by Iraqi fans.

Portugal went ahead at the 12th minute when Iraqi defender Habar Haidar accidentally kicked the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a pass by Cristiano Ronaldo. Three minutes later, however, Mohammed Emad tied it after picking up a rebound from the goalkeeper, Moreira.

Iraq went ahead 2-1 in the 28th minute when Mohammed Hawar scored on a soft shot after dribbling past the goalkeeper, but Portugal tied it with a minute to go in the first half on a goal by Bosingwa.

Mahmoud Younis put Iraq ahead 3-2 in the 50th minute, and Sadit Salih scored during injury time to seal the victory.

The Iraq fans, mostly students who traveled to Pampeloponnisiako Stadium from various Greek cities, chanted and jumped in unison. Some waved Iraqi flags and signs in Arabic as unarmed police watched. At the end of the match, the jubilant Iraqi players ran across the field holding their raised hands above their heads.

Iraq was a surprise addition to the Olympic tournament. The nation managed to cobble together a team amid ongoing conflict at home and efforts to rebuild an Olympic committee that was previously run by Saddam Hussein's late son, Odai, who allegedly ordered the torture of players who fell out of favor.

In May, Iraq clinched an Olympic soccer berth just three months after being reinstated by the International Olympic Committee. Two months later, the team's German coach, Bernd Stange, resigned, claiming authorities advised him to leave for his safety. He was replaced by his assistant, Adnan Hamad, who coached Iraq's national soccer team to victory in the West Asian Championship in 2002 and played on the national team during the early 1980s.

In July, Iraq reached the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup that included a 2-1 win over regional soccer power Saudi Arabia. Iraq leads the Group D with three points, while Costa Rica and Morocco have one after playing to a scoreless tie Thursday.

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