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Holders Mexico show Iraq the door.

Al Ain Reigning champions Mexico put their U-17 Fifa World Cup campaign back on track by beating Iraq 3-1 in their second Group F fixture at the Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium yesterday.

Mexico's title bid looked in shambles after their humiliating 1-6 loss against Nigeria in the opener, but on Tuesday, they had clearly made emends.

Alejandro Diaz, Jose Almanza and Ulises Rivas scored a goal apiece for the winners while the consolation goal for Iraq came from Fahad Kareem. Despite having a match in hand against Nigeria, its curtains as far as Iraq's chances in this tournament are concerned.

There were sizeable Mexican fans in the stands, wearing green with No. 9 and Diaz printed on their back and the ace striker didn't disappoint them.

He crossed from Francisco Calderon from the right flank with a brilliant low header, diving in front of a defender to the right off Iraq custodian Hayder Mohammad and Mexico lead by a goal after the half-an-hour mark.

Iraq could have got the equaliser quickly had Mustafa Sameer been clinical in his effort.

Ten minutes later, the lead widened to 2-0, this time following a throw in. Diaz flicked the ball back with his head and poor clearance from an Iraq defender allowed an unmarked Jose Almanza, stationed at the far post, to blast the goal.

With the match slipping away, Iraqi players showed far more intent after the change of ends. In the 57th minute, a Mahdi Abdulzahra header sailed inches over the famework off a curling freekick from Bashar Resan.

Their persistent attack finally bore fruit in the 61st minute. Ahmad Nadim made a defense-splitting run from the centre and found Amjad Attwan with a measured back pass. The latter unleashed a powerpacked grounder but only to see it being blocked by a defender. However, an overlapping Kareem latched on to the rebound and fired in a grounder that settled into the goal after hitting the bottom of the vertical.

Pumped up by the goal, Iraq kept pressing but it allowed easy inroads for the Mexican forwards on the break. They managed to seal the match in

their favour through a 84th minute strike from Ulises Rivas, who was set up by Ivan Ochoa inside the box by a cross from the left flank.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Oct 23, 2013
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