Iraq Triumphs, Wins Asian Cup
Younis Scores in 71st Minute for 1-0 Victory Over Saudi Arabia
Iraq's national team finished their quest to win the 2007 the Asian Cup, beating out three-time champion Saudi Arabia 1-0 on Sunday.
The win provided a rare moment of national unity and cause for celebration for the war-torn nation. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office announced that each player on the Iraqi team would be awarded $10,000 to honor their achievement.
In the AP's reporting on the game's final moments:
It was an extraordinary triumph for a team drawn together from all parts of the Gulf and with its players straddling bitter and violent ethnic divides.
Iraq scored on a 71st-minute header by Younis Mahmoud,... the Iraqi captain, met Hawar Mulla Mohammed's corner kick at the far post. Saudi goalkeeper Al Mosailem came for the ball and flapped at it without making any contact, presenting an easy chance for an unmarked Mahmoud with a goal that will long live in Iraqi folklore.
At the final whistle, Mahmoud sprinted across the field with his elated teammates in pursuit before they collapsed into a pile, overwhelmed with their achievement.
Iraqi television presenters broke down in tears at the win and across Iraq's major cities, people poured into the streets to celebrate, shooting celebratory gunfire despite bans against the practice.
From 4pm today until 6am Iraq time tomorrow, Iraqi authorities banned motor vehicles and bicycles from the streets of Baghdad and Kirkuk, and in Mosul established a city-wide curfew, in attempt to stop the type of violence that has followed previous wins.
Reuters reports Iraqi security forces detained two men in a car packed with explosives in eastern Baghdad not long before the match started. Police accused them of trying to target soccer fans.
Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said in an announcement on national TV that the vehicle ban included bicycles, motorcycles and carts in a bid to keep "terrorists, Sunni extremists and criminals from targeting the joy of the people over the achievements of the Iraqi national team."
Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious edict, against firing weapons into the air, a traditional tribal celebration.
Iraqi authorities warned that anybody firing weapons in the air would be arrested, after celebratory gunfire killed a number of people in the aftermath of previous victories.
"We call upon people to stick to two important recommendations," Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf said at a news conference.
"People should keep their celebrations within their own areas while security forces step up measures at the entry points to the areas," he said. "Anybody caught shooting will be arrested and tried according to the Iraqi civil law."
Al-Moussawi said that would include Iraqi security forces.
"Security forces are allowed to participate in the celebrations but without shooting into the air, otherwise they will face judicial measures," he told The Associated Press in a separate interview.
The U.S. military also announced it would position troops as necessary to maintain security nationwide.
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In: Iraq, News
Tags: iraq, iraqi, soccer, football, sport, cup, asia, 2007, win, us, usa, 2008, senator, bush, war, 911, army, military, marine, ide, islam, islamic, iraqtube, alqaeda, iraqtube
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