DOHA, Qatar (AP) -Iraq revived its bid to reach the 2014 World Cup with a 1-0 victory over Jordan in a qualifier on Wednesday.
Ahmed Hammadi netted the winner with a blistering shot from outside the area in the 86th minute. The win was the first for Iraq in this stage of the competition and moves it level with Australia and Oman for the second qualifying spot in Group B. Iraq plays its matches in Doha due to security concerns at home.
"The match was very difficult. We had a youthful team at our disposal. I congratulate them for winning this," Iraq's Brazilian coach Zico said. "We badly needed a win to remain alive in the fray."
Jordan will be left to rue some missed chances that could have given it the momentum early on. In the 30th minute, striker Abdallah Deeb's shot flew just over the crossbar and he was denied four minutes later by a great save from Iraq goalkeeper Noor Sabri - who only got better as the match wore on.
Sabri stopped Husam Ibrahim Ali in the second half from point blank range and then turned away a shot from substitute Hamza al-Dardour in the closing minutes with an acrobatic save. He first stopped the ball with his left foot and then cleared it with his right hand.
On the hour mark, Jordan replaced both their strikers with Ahmed Hayel coming in for Thaer Bawab and Odai al-Saify for Abdallah. Ahmed wasted one chance with a weak finish.
"We have created many chances , but couldn't convert," Jordan coach Adnan Ahmed. "This is football. But this isn't the end of road for us. We hope that we can improve in our game next time. We still have three games and the door is wide open."
The loss for Jordan leaves it bottom of the table in Group B, nine points behind leader Japan.