AFC Cup holders Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya came from behind against Al-Shurta to salvage a point in the Baghdad Clásico played in front of almost 30,000 spectators at the Al-Shaab.
Al-Shurta open the scoring through Senegalese Alassane Diallo after 13 minutes before Al-Jawiya’s Emad Muhsin equalised in first half stoppage time.
Al-Shurta’s Alaa Abdul-Zahra had forced defender Saad Natiq into making an error and the young striker cut back to Diallo who rifled the ball low to Mohammed Kasid’s left to score.
The Police Club made an early change when striker Mohanad Ali who had begun brightly was stretchered off after 35 minutes, Mahdi Kamil came on to replace him.
The Air Force Club equalised in first half stoppage time when Ali Husni opened up the opposition’s defence, delightfully threading the ball with the outside of his right foot to find Emad Muhsin in the penalty area. The striker beat a defender before lofting the ball over the onrushing keeper to make it 1-1.
A buoyed Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya came out in the second half with more intent with captain Hamadi Ahmed firing wide eight minutes in but neither side could carve out an opening.
The second half witnessed a moment of controversy as tempers flared when Al-Shurta appealed for a penalty claiming Al-Jawiya’s Saad Natiq had handled in the box, however referee Wathiq Mohammed waved away the protests adjudging the ball to have touched his chest.
Both second placed Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya and Al-Shurta in fourth had the opportunity to go top if either side could claim victory. The draw means Al-Zawraa with nine games played remain top by a point but Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya and Al-Shurta each have a game in hand on last season’s champions.
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya 1-1 Al-Shurta
Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya: 12 Mohammed Kasid; 2 Ali Bahjat, 4 Saad Natiq, 5 Ahmed Abdul-Ridha, 6 Samih Saeed, 25 Mohammed Ali Aboud (16 Karrar Nabil 80’), 8 Ibrahim Bayish (7 Karrar Ali 89′), 15 Ali Husni, 18 Zaher Medani, 9 Emad Muhsin (29 Amjad Radhi 76’), 10 Hamadi Ahmed [c].
COACH: Basim Qasim
Al-Shurta: 20 Mohammed Hamed; 2 Karrar Mohammed, 24 Faisal Jassim, 13 Amjad Walid (25 Saad Abdul-Amir 79’), 23 Walid Salim [c] (17 Alaa Mahawi 74’), 19 Amjad Atwan, 12 Ammar Abdul-Hussein, 6 Maarouf Youssef, 10 Alaa Abdul-Zahra, 33 Alassane Diallo, 18 Mohanad Ali (9 Mahdi Kamil 35’).
COACH: Nebojša Jovović (Montenegro)
Referee: Wathiq Mohammed
Cautions: Ammar Abdul-Hussein 53′, Alaa Mahawi 88′.