Iraq beat Singapore 2-0 in their 2014 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier today but wasted several chances.
Newly-appointed Iraq coach and Brazilian legend Zico had lamented his side's propensity to squander goalscoring chances in a pre-match press conference, and the evidence was in full display at Singapore's Jalan Besar Stadium.
Iraq pressured the Singapore goal from the starting whistle, laying siege for long periods of the game, but wayward finishing and determined defending kept the scoreline level at half-time.
Iraq's persistence finally paid off in the 49th minute when forward Ala'a Abdulzehra put them ahead, heading an inswinging cross to the left corner of Singapore's goal and beating goalkeeper Lionel Lewis.
Lewis, a replacement for injured goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, pulled off a string of vital saves throughout the match to prevent the scoreline from widening.
Singapore took the game to Iraq after conceding the first goal, but were unable to convert a series of golden opportunities.
Mahmoud makes sure
And Iraq put the game away in the 85th minute after a seemingly innocuous chip by Iraqi striker Younis Mahmoud sailed past a rooted Lewis and bounced into the goal.
Singapore team manager Eugene Loo said his team would continue to vie for a place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers despite their second loss in as many games.
"I think our boys tried very hard, they fought very hard... I think we gave them a good fight," he said. "It's tough losing two games but its not over. I think our boys still got fight in them and we will not give up."
The result means Singapore drop to last place in the Group A standings as the only team with no points in the group.