SYDNEY (dpa) – The United Arab Emirates claimed third place at the Asian Cup Friday by edging a five-goal thriller with Iraq 3-2 in Newcastle thanks to a penalty from the tournament’s leading scorer Ali Mabkhout.
Mabkhout himself was brought down by Ahmed Ibrahim in the 56th minute and slotted home the winning goal from the spot. It was his fifth of the competition and makes him favourite to win the golden boot with only the final still to be played.
The penalty completed a second half comeback for the UAE who had equalized just moments earlier with Ahmed Khalil’s second of the game. Earlier Khalil had opened the scoring only for Waleed Salim and Amjed Kalef to turn things round and give Iraq the advantage at half time.
Finishing third represents the UAE’s best finish at an Asian Cup held outside their own country while 2007 champions Iraq had to settle for fourth. Australia face South Korea in Saturday’s final in Sydney. After a slow start to a game played in excellent spirit by both sets of players, chances started to flow when Khalil met Mabkhout’s cross on the volley and sent his effort narrowly over.