Olympic qualifiers: Japan, Iraq into third round

Japan and Iraq have both progressed to the third round of Asian qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games.Iraq beat neighbours Iran for the first time ever to seal their place in the next round, courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Iraq made the better start and drew level on aggregate with a stunning goal from Amjad Rahdi.

Rahdi then took advantage of some poor defending to tap home his second of the match after the break, giving Iraq the lead on aggregate.

Despite over seven minutes of injury time, Iraq held on for a 2-0 win to move a step closer to London next year.

Japan also qualified for the third round despite a 2-1 defeat away to Kuwait.

The Japanese carried a 3-1 aggregate lead into the second leg, and an early goal from Hiroki Sakai had them in the driver’s seat.

Despite the deficit, Kuwait showed plenty of fight in the second half, and grabbed two goals in eleven minutes to put the pressure on the visitors.

But they could not find a crucial third goal to draw level, with Japan moving through to the next round.