October 11 – It’s been a long road back but Iraq played their first competitive fixture on home soil in eight years on Thursday as they beat Hong Kong 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Basra.
Back in August Iraq were given the final all-clear to resume home fixtures in Basra, Erbil and Kabala – but not the capital Bahgdad – having only previously been allowed to stage friendlies because of security concerns. Competitive games have taken place in Iran, Jordan or Doha since 2011.
Following Hong Kong, Iran will host Iran in what promises to be a politically explosive fixture and then Bahrain in further World Cup matches as it seeks to qualify for the first time since 1986.
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