Iraq have qualified to the quarter-finals of the U-23 Asian Cup, following a 1-0 win over neighbours Jordan.
The star-studded Iraqi team topped the group with 7 points, while Malaysia caused an upset by qualifying second, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Abdul-Ghani Shahad has been criticised by many for bringing a squad with many established players, the likes of Alaa Mhawi, Ayman Hussein and Bashar Resan, instead of giving the opportunity for a new crop of youngsters.
Iraq started the competition with a large victory over Malaysia. Goals by Mohammed Jaffal, Amjad Attawan, Alaa Mhawi, and Hussein Ali gave Iraq a 4-1 win over Malaysia. The following game was a hard–fought 0-0 stalemate with Saudi Arabia. Iraq only needed a point in the final game to qualify, but Bashar Resan’s strike put it out of doubt and ensured Iraq’s place in the last eight.
The Lions’ opponent in the quarter-final is still unknown as all four teams in Group D are still in contention.
Iraq will play the quarter-final match on January 20th in Changshu, China. For all updates about the game and results follow @SoccerIraq on Twitter.