Iraq wins Gulf Cup in Basra
The win has allowed Iraq to relive its celebrated victories in 1979, 1984, and 1988.
Iraq witnessed a historical win on Thursday by defeating Oman 3-2 at the Gulf Cup in Basra, Iraq, and scored a victory for the Iraqi people around the globe. The streets of Iraq that day were a sight for the whole world to see.
At 24 minutes in, Iraqi midfielder Ibrahim Bayesh scored a goal putting Iraq at 1-0, then Omani midfielder Salaah al-Yahyaei scored during a penalty kick to put the game at a draw and send it into overtime. A penalty goal was scored at 116' by Iraqi midfielder Amjad Attwan, and Omani striker Omar Al Malki scored a mere three minutes later. The victory point came when Iraqi defender Manaf Younis scored the final and third winning goal at 122 minutes.
The joy of winning was overshadowed by a stampede that took place that day before the game kicked off, which left one person dead and dozens injured. An Interior Ministry official said that "a large number of fans, many of them without tickets, had gathered since the early morning to try to enter the stadium."
The Gulf Cup, similar to the World Cup championship, is held every four years. Bahrain was the previous winner in 2019, while Oman attained the title twice back in 2009 and 2017. Iraq had also celebrated victories in 1979, 1984, and 1988, before it was banned from the cup following Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1991.
The game came as proof against those who attempt to portray Iraq as unsafe, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani stated, as he simultaneously urged FIFA to lift its ban on Iraqi stadiums that were imposed for "security" reasons, according to Kurdish Iraqi news outlet Rudaw.
Iraqis in Basra rejoice as Oman miss an equalizing penalty during the final stretches of the final.— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) January 19, 2023
📸: Julian Bechocha/Rudaw pic.twitter.com/GvLTTActZP
PSG defeats Riyadh All-Star XI
The Basra tournament comes right after the World Cup ended in December in Qatar, where Arabic-speaking countries were well represented, and most notably where Morocco made history by reaching the semifinals as the first North African team to make it that far.
On the same day on Thursday, a major football game was happening in Saudi Arabia when Lionel Messi playing for Paris Saint-Germain defeated what KSA calls the Riyadh All-Star XI led by Cristiano Ronaldo, and included players from both the Al Nassr and Al Hilal clubs.
This comes after Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr football club - being as of yet the most famous football player to join the Saudi Pro League. It is noteworthy that Ronaldo, 37, signed with Al Nassr until June 2025, in a deal believed to be worth around 200 million euros.
Paris Saint-Germain won the match 5-4.