South American champions Mexico were held to a 1-1 draw by Iraq in their opening group match of the FIFA U-17 World Cup here today.
The Asian champions Iraq took a surprised lead in the 16th minute through a goal by Mohammed Dawood before Roberto De La Rosa equalised in the 61st minute for Spain as both teams collected one point each from the Group F match.
A sizeable crowd turned up at the brand new Salt Lake Stadium to watch the match. They saw as many as 15 shots from Mexico as against six from Iraq but must be bit disappointed as they could see just two goals.
Mexico completely dominated the proceedings with 63 per cent possession but their forwards were wayward as only four shots out of the 15 are on target.
With the draw, their first ever, the war-torn Iraq collected their first points in a FIFA U-17 World Cup. Before this India edition, they had taken part only once in this tournament -- in 2013 in UAE -- and had lost all their three matches.
A win would have created a bigger history for Iraq but they would be happy with the result as Mexico completely dominated the later part of the match even though they could not score more than one goal.
Dawood beat the offside trap and drilled a left footed shot past Mexico goalkeeper in the 16th minute to the surprise of the Salt Lake Stadium crowd.
Iraq managed to keep the lead for 35 minutes after that despite a wave of attacks from the Mexicans. Goalkeeper Ali Ibadi turned out to be the wall whom Mexico could not breach despite repeated attempts.
Daniel Lopez was the architect of the Mexico equaliser as he sent a fine cross from the right which was misread by a Iraqi defender and De La Rosa drilled a low shot into the goal from inside the box.
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