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Bangkok: Head coach Ali Taib has praised his Iraq players following Friday’s narrow 2-0 defeat to the Islamic Republic of Iran which saw them finish as runners-up at the inaugural AFC U-20 Futsal Championship in Thailand.

After both sides reached the final with perfect records, Iran went ahead in the fourth minute, before an own goal from Zaid Ali sealed Iraq’s fate and ended their title hopes in a close encounter at the Bangkok Arena.

“It was a tough game for us, we made some mistakes and we lost, but I am proud of my team,” declared Talib.

“Our main player, Fahad Methaq, was injured and couldn't perform to his best ability, but he still gave everything, along with everyone else in the team.”

As finalists, both Iraq and Iran will now represent Asia with their U-18 futsal teams at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics in Argentina - something Talib is already focussing on..

“We will look towards that as our next achievement, and begin looking for players as soon as we return home,” he said.

Photo: AFC