Iraq qualify for Paris Olympics, Indonesia wait continues

By Hoang Nguyen    MAY. 2, 2024

A 2-1 victory after extra time of the U23 Asian Cup third-place playoff Friday sent Iraq straight to the Paris Olympics, while Indonesia's fate remains undecided.

In an electrifying U23 Asian Cup third-place playoff that doubled as an Olympic qualifier, Iraq triumphed over Indonesia with a dramatic win, securing their place in the upcoming Paris Olympics. The match at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium was filled with tension, excitement, and heart-stopping moments, culminating in jubilant celebrations for the Iraqi side, while leaving Indonesia with another chance in the upcoming playoff against Guinea.

Indonesia, displaying vibrant energy from the start, opened the scoring with a stunning long-range shot by Ivan Jenner. This early lead, however, was quickly neutralized by Iraq's Zaid Tahseen, who headed in a crucial equalizer following a well-executed corner.

Both teams had their moments throughout the game. Iraq used their physicality and aerial strength, while Indonesia relied on quick counterattacks and the pace of their younger players. Each side made several strategic substitutions to bolster their tactics, but it was Iraq's defensive substitution in extra time that perhaps played a crucial role in maintaining their slender lead.

Extra time saw Iraq taking a crucial lead through Ali Jasim's goal just before the break. Despite their fatigue, Indonesia pushed hard for an equalizer. They created several long-range attempts, but these efforts did not seriously threaten the Iraqi goal.

The match was decided in the dying minutes of extra time. Iraqi goalkeeper Hasan's risky play to punch out a dangerous ball nearly cost his team the lead as an Indonesian player attempted a header towards the open net. However, Iraq's resilient defense stood tall, blocking the shot just in time. As the final whistle blew, emotions overflowed among the Iraqi players and fans, celebrating not just a win but a ticket to the Olympics.

2023 U23 Asian Cup third place playoff: Iraq 2-1 Indonesia

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