ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A flurry of late goals in a 4-0 away loss to Al-Talaba on Saturday condemned Erbil Sports Club to their ninth loss of the season in the Iraqi Premier League.
Neither side was able to score in the first half although Al-Talaba looked the more dangerous team, coming close to breaking the deadlock on many occasions. Erbil, meanwhile, had to settle for shots from outside the box as they were unable to break the opposition’s defense.
The home side was nearly ahead after the restart, but a headed effort struck the post, and a sharp save from Erbil’s goalkeeper Sarhang Mohsin moments later kept the score goalless.
Al-Talaba continued to ask questions of the Erbil defense, and striker Marwan Hossein eventually put his team ahead with a strike in the 76th minute.
The Baghdad-based club doubled their lead two minutes later through Abdulqader Aziz before substitute Ali Qassim made it 3-0 in the 82nd minute. Nabeel Sabah added a fourth late in stoppage time.
The loss means Erbil (7W-5D-9L) drop to 10th place in the league while Al-Talaba (6W-10D-5L) leapfrog them into eigth.
Erbil’s next match is at home to Naft Al-Junoob (8W-4D-9L) on April 12.
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One of the league’s most successful football clubs, Erbil withdrew from Iraq’s Premier League during the 2016-17 season due to financial issues.
They have been crowned Iraqi Premier League champions four times, most recently in the 2011-12 season, when they only lost one match.
Erbil is also the first club from the Iraqi league to qualify for continental club tournaments. In 2008, they qualified for the Asian Champions League but failed to progress from the group stage.
However, in Asia’s second-tier continental tournament, the AFC Cup, Erbil have finished runners-up on two occasions, in 2012 and 2014.