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Riyadh: Iraq confirmed their appearance at the AFC U-23 Championship Finals after a 2-0 win against Saudi Arabia at the Prince Faisal Bin Fahd Stadium on Sunday.

Both sides started strongly but it was Iraq’s Hussein Al Saedi who broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute.

It got better for the Iraqis as they went into the break with a two-goal advantage after Aymen Hussein’s shot found the back of the net in stoppage time.

Saudi Arabia looked set to make a comeback when Iraq were reduced to 10 men after Al Saeidi was sent off in the 68th minute but despite their best efforts, they couldn’t crack Iraq’s solid defence.

There was cheer for Saudi Arabia though as they qualified for the Finals as one of the six best second-placed teams.

Bahrain achieved their first win in the AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers after a 2-0 win over Afghanistan at the Prince Faisail Bin Fadh Stadium in Riyadh on Sunday.

In a contest for third place in Group B, Abdulrahman Mohamed Ahmedi opened the scoring for Bahrain in the 14th minute. After a back and forth encounter, Samir Chammam’s side went into the break with just the one-goal advantage.

Elias Ahmad Manoucher’s side failed to find an equaliser throughout the second half, and their hopes for a comeback were thwarted when Bahrain’s Ali Jaafar Mohamed Madan scored from the penalty spot three minutes from time to assure his side the three points.

Photos: Saudi Arabia Football Federation