Hosts Iraq and Palestine recorded wins on the opening day of the WAFF Championship 2019, the ninth edition of the West Asian Football Federation tournament, on Wednesday.
In the opening match of the championship, hosts Iraq defeated Lebanon 1-0 at the Karbala International Stadium with Hussein Ali scoring the solitary goal of the game for Srecko Katanec’s side in the 58th minute.
Meanwhile in the second Group A match of the day at the same venue, Palestine defeated Yemen 1-0 with the winning goal coming as early as the 26th minute from Yasser Hamed.
Group A of the WAFF Championship 2019 features Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Lebanon, and Syria while the Group B has Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Top team from each group will advance to the final to be held in Karbala on August 14.
Palestine will face hosts Iraq while Lebanon take on the Syria in the next set of fixtures in the tournament on August 2.
The previous edition of the WAFF Championship was held all the way back in 2014 in Qatar with the hosts emerging as the champions defeating Jordan 2-0 in the final at Doha.
This is the first international tournament to be organised in Iraq after FIFA lifted its almost three-decade ban on Iraq hosting international football matches earlier this year. FIFA had banned Iraq from hosting matches over security concerns following the country’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990.
(Photo courtesy: Iraqi Football Association)