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Iraq puts PMNFT's FIFA World Cup bid in peril with road rage

Rebin Adhamat begins setting up Iraq's offensive. Cesca Rampas
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Iraq silenced 10,014 fans at the Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night after ripping the Philippine Men's National Football Team, 5-0, in their quick rematch in the second round of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

Surprisingly held to just one late goal in their first meeting in Basra, Iraq swept their home-and-home set in style, already dominating the PMNFT by the first half.

Aymen Hussein grabbed the opportunity after forcing a defensive lapse that led to a penalty and struck a powerful shot that Neil Etheridge, although he predicted the direction correctly, could not tap away in the 14th minute.

Amir Fouad then took advantage of two Filipino defenders overcommitting and struck a 30th-minute goal to make it 2-0.

Hussein turned his performance into a brace after making it 3-0 in the 37th minute.

Zidane Iqbal continued the Iraqi domination in the second half by striking from a tough angle in the 62nd minute.

Defender Zaid Hantoosh added another goal for Iraq in the 77th minute

With the win, Iraq remains perfect in Group F with the full 12 points as the team clinched an outright berth in the 2027 Asian Cup and a spot in the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers

Meanwhile, the PMNFT remains stuck in fourth place with only a draw against Indonesia to show.

The pressure is on for the PMNFT as they must now sweep their remaining two matches, both on the road against Indonesia and Vietnam to keep their hopes of making the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers alive.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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