Iraq brush past Yemen to set up Iran decider

raq's forward Mohanad Ali Kadhim Alshammari (C) atttempts a shot. (AFP)
Updated 12 January 2019
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Iraq brush past Yemen to set up Iran decider

  • Iraq to face rivals Iran to decide which side tops Group D.

LONDON: Iraq illustrated why they could go all the way with an impressive and assured 3-0 win over Yemen in Sharjah.
The Lions of Mesopotamia never looked anything but winners in the Group D clash, victory confirming their presence in the second round, with Wednesday’s match against Iran set to decide who tops the group.
In the very early stages Yemen took the game to the favorites but from the moment Iraq began to dominate possession there was only going to be one winner.
They soon put Yemen under pressure and it was no surprise when Muhanad Ali put Iraq in front after just 11 minutes.
Yemen goalkeeper Saoud Al-Sowadi found himself under incessant pressure, facing wave after wave of attacks. He and the Yemen defence were not able to keep out the Iraqis and Al-Saowadi conceded the second goal in the 19th minute when Bashar Resan Bonyan’s strike from the edge of the box bounced off the right post before hitting the back of the net.
Iraq took their foot off the pedal and allowed Yemen the chance of pulling one back — Ahmed Saeed’s right-footed shot from outside the box well saved by Jalal Hassan Hachim in the Iraq goal.
There was never any real chance of a comeback, however, and Srecko Katanec’s team made sure of the three points with a goal in the dying minutes. Alaa Abbas scoring with a left-footed shot from the centre of the box to wrap up victory.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.