Iraq thump Palestine in landmark tie

Iraq won their first international match in Baghdad since the US-led invasion of 2003 on Monday, beating Palestine 4-0 in a friendly.

Hawar Mullah Mohammed opened the scoring for the hosts in the 25th minute sending the more than 50,000-strong crowd at the central Al-Shaab stadium into delirium. Karrar Jasim added a second goal in the 58th minute, followed by Ala Abdel Zahra in the 72nd. Emad Mohammed completed the scoring with a penalty in the 90th minute.

The 4-0 scoreline followed a 3-0 victory by Iraq over Palestine on Friday in the northern city of Arbil in the autonomous Kurdistan region, Iraq's first home international since 2003. The Asian Football Confederation and FIFA, football's world governing body, both gave their approval for the games.

The Iraqi national team won the Asian Cup in 2007 but last month, under new veteran Serbian coach Bora Milutinovic, they crashed out of the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa without scoring a single goal.

The Palestinian team is now set to head to China for a friendly on 18 July. Palestine has been affiliated to FIFA since 1998, even though the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip do not have statehood. Games are broadcast to the Arab world by the Saudi-owned ART television network.