Iraq beats Jordan 3-1 in WCup qualifying
Two goals from midfielder Nashat Akram helped Iraq come from a goal down to beat Jordan 3-1 on Tuesday and reach the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
Hassan Abdel Fattah opened the scoring in the 17th minute and Jordan nearly doubled its lead three minutes later when Amer Deeb's free kick hit the woodwork.
Akram equalized in the 55th minute and Iraq took the lead 10 minutes later courtesy of Qusay Munir's free kick.
The Iraqis, who were Asian champions in 2007, sealed victory when Nakram scored again in the 80th minute.
Jordan and Iraq both have 12 points in Group A, with third-place China on six points with one round of matches to play.
The victory was greeted by popular celebrations in Iraq, with people flooding into the streets and enjoying a rare event that unifies people across religious and cultural divides.
Young men waved Iraqi flags from car windows as drivers honked their horns and flashed their lights. Others walked through the streets cheering and clapping, and even Iraqi soldiers carrying AK-47 rifles were dancing in celebration.
The government called on Iraqis to refrain from shooting into the air, a traditional method of celebrating sporting victories in Iraq. But judging by the repeated bursts of gunfire ringing out across the city, few seemed to be paying attention to the warning.
Some Iraqi officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq, went to Jordan to watch the match, while Iraqi state TV reported that congratulations were pouring in from President Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and the speaker of the parliament Osama al-Nujaifi.
Associated Press writer Mazin Yahya in Baghdad contributed to this report.