Futsalroos defeated by Iraq in final AFC Futsal Asian Cup match

The Futsalroos have been defeated by Iraq 6-2 in their final game of the AFC Futsal Asian Cup Thailand 2024™.

Head coach Miles Downie made four changes to the starting lineup. Aaron Yu started his first game of the tournament in goals, while Ethan De Melo, Tyler Garner and Jamie Dib were rewarded for strong performances throughout.

Daniel Fornito and Wade Giovenali were unavailable through suspension after their red cards in the previous fixture against Saudi Arabia.

The game started off evenly, as both teams felt each other out in the opening exchanges. Yu made a series of good saves on goal while his opposite number Zaher Mahdj Hadi was kept busy by the likes of Grant Lynch and Adam Cooper.

Things came to life in the 14th minute. Firstly, Michael Kouta opened the scoring from a rebound after a swift counterattack. Immediately after, captain Shervin Keshavarz Adeli doubled the Futsalroos lead with an acrobatic effort from a set piece.

Tweet: https://twitter.com/FootballAUS/status/1782065948599665142

The two-goal lead would be short-lived – Iraq soon got a goal back after a thunderous strike from Salim Faisal Al-Husaynat. The score would remain 2-1 to Australia’s advantage at the half-time break.

The second half began the same way as the first, with both teams having their chances. Iraq increasingly used a power play, which is when an outfielder comes on the pitch in a special shirt to indicate that they are replacing the goalkeeper. It almost paid off for them early if not for some special saves from Yu, the best coming in the 24th minute to deny Muheb Aldeen Al-Taie.

Power plays are not without risk, one that the Futsalroos almost exploited if not for Jordan Guerreiro’s shot sliding wide after a counterattack. However, in the 30th minute, Iraq found the breakthrough they had been searching for. After great work from Mustafa Ihsan Al-Bayati to get to the byline, Tareq Zeyad Sulaiman was able to tuck it in for the equaliser.

Only moments later there was more jubilation for the team in white and green, with Harith Al-Obaidi capitalising on an error to take the lead for the first time in the game.

As Australia pushed to get back in the game using power plays of their own, space opened up behind. Tareq took advantage of the lack of goalkeeper to score Iraq’s fourth from inside his own half.

The fifth goal occurred the same way, a long shot from Harith capitalising on Australia’s loss of possession. Mustafa scored goal number six after a counterattack late in the half. That one would prove to be the last, as the game ended 6-2 in Iraq’s favour.

The result means that Australia will not advance from the group stage.

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