Mahmoud double fires Iraq to 2007 finals

Updated: 2006-10-12 16:32

AL AIN, United Arab Emirates, Oct 12 - Iraq came from behind to beat Singapore 4-2 on Wednesday and secure their place at next year's Asian Cup finals.

Goals in each half from Younis Mahmoud helped Iraq match China with 10 points at the top of Group E with the two facing each other on Nov. 15 in Changsha to decide who tops the group and receives a crucial seeding for next year's tournament.

Singapore, who needed at least a draw to keep alive their faint hopes of qualifying, opened the scoring on nine minutes when veteran striker Egmar Goncalves headed home from Sharil Ishak's cross.

Mahmoud levelled the scores on 35 minutes when he neatly clipped the ball past Lionel Lewis in the Singapore goal, and Mahdi Karim put the Iraqis ahead on the hour when he slotted home from a tight angle after Mahmoud's free-kick rattled the crossbar.

Singapore equalised moments later when Khairul Amri swept home a free-kick but Mahmoud made it 3-2 on 68 minutes with a superb 30-yard stike.

Hawar Taher added a fourth deep into injury time for Iraq, quarter-finalists from the 2004 finals.

The 2007 finals are to be co-hosted by Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.