FIFA U17 World Cup: Iraq salvages a draw against mighty Mexico

Debasis Sen and Gopal Roy, Kolkata:
Iraq showed great resilience to stop mighty Mexico in the opening game of group F in the FIFA U17 World Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata today. The Mexicans created opportunities in abundance, but Iraq stood firm on their defensive duties and managed to snatch a vital point in the end.

Twice winners of the U-17 world title and current CONCAFAF U-17 champions, the Mexicans came into this Group F clash as favourites to defeat a side whose only previous finals appearance - in 2013 - had seen them lose all three games.


However, an Iraqi team buoyed by last year's AFC U-16 Championship triumph took an early lead through the impressive and constantly menacing Mohammed Dawood.
On one of the many occasions on which Iraq sought to exploit Dawood's pace with through-balls in behind the Mexico backline, the Al-Naft striker outpaced defender Carlos Robles, rounded goalkeeper César López and rolled the underdogs ahead.


But Mexico, who had the lion's share of the possession throughout, took a greater measure of control after half time, and Roberto de la Rosa sidefooted El Tri level in the 51st minute after being found in the box by Daniel López's pull-back.


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