- Thursday, 26 April 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
Iraqi Premier League side Arbil SC moved within a point of a place in the last 16 of the AFC Cup as Halkard Mulla Mohammad Taher and Ahmed Ibrahim Khalaf scored in either half to secure at 2-1 win over Abdou “Tea Boy” Jammeh’s Kazma SC at the Al-Sadaqua Walsalam Stadium on Wednesday.
Taher opened the scoring for the visitors only for a penalty from Yousef Naser Al Sulaiman in first half stoppage time to draw the host’s level.
But three minutes before the hour mark, Khalaf headed home to lift unbeaten Arbil three points clear of Kazma and Yemen’s Al Orouba at the top of Group B.
“I’m happy with this win especially because it is an away victory and we are now close to advance to the next stage. The match was not easy because Kazma were a strong team and they gave us a hard time,” said Arbil coach Nizar Mahrous.
“We knew how to get away with three points especially because our team had a big fighting spirit which gave us the upper hand. Our focus is to get a victory in the last match in order to finish on top of the group.”
Following a 1-1 draw between the two sides on Matchday 1 at the start of March, Arbil broke the deadlock after 16 minutes as Taher’s first time strike from Nadim Sabag’s pass beat Kazma goalkeeper Shehab Kankone.
And Arbil appeared to be heading for a half-time lead until Noser Farag was fouled by Sabag inside the area and Naser made no mistake from the resulting penalty three minutes into added time at the end of the first half. But the visitors responded 12 minutes after the restart as Khalaf rose to head Mahdi Kareem’s corner past Kankone as Arbil claimed a third win in five games and leave Tea Boy’s Kazma level on points with Al Orouba, who earlier recorded a 4-1 win over India’s East Bengal.
“We didn’t have a good performance tonight while Arbil had a good show and they had great desire. Their early goal put us under pressure but we managed to get back into the game,” said Kazma coach Milan Máčala.
“We didn’t score from the chances that we had while Arbil were more focused in front of our goal. The defeat is not the end of the day as our chances are still on and we will be battling for the ticket in the last match.”
On Matchday 6 next month, Abdou Jammeh and his Kazma will travel to India to face already-eliminated East Bengal.