War-torn Syria beat Iraq to savor rare soccer success

Reuters

Posted at Dec 21 2012 06:29 PM | Updated as of Dec 22 2012 02:29 AM

War-torn Syria enjoyed some rare soccer success by beating Iraq 1-0 in Kuwait on Thursday to win the West Asian Championships for the first time.

Ahmad Al Salih headed the winning goal for Syria's Red Eagles in the 75th minute of the final and they rode their luck in the closing stages before claiming the nine-team biennial tournament.

"I give this win and this worthy title to the Syrian people. I thank God that we succeeded in bringing happiness to the sad people," striker Omar Al Soma said in a televised interview after the match.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in Syria since violence broke out against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

The Syrians reached the final after drawing with Iraq and coming from behind to beat Jordan in the group stages. They then edging Bahrain 3-2 on penalties when their semi-final finished 1-1 after extra time.