Asia FIFA World Cup

Valiant 10-Men Indonesia Went Down to Persistent Iraq

Iraq were forced to work hard for their win but eventually sealed top spot of Group F after beating Indonesia 2-0 in Thursday’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at the Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta, with the West Asians confirming their place in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup as well.

Having already secured a top-two finish in Group F back in March, Iraq faced a challenging first half against Indonesia, who held the majority of possession without creating any clear scoring opportunities.

However, the introduction of Ali Jasim at half-time proved decisive for Iraq. Jasim’s influence was immediate, drawing a penalty that allowed Aymen Hussein to open the scoring. He then netted a crucial second goal in the dying moments, ensuring Iraq clinched the top spot in the group with one game remaining.

Also instrumental in Iraq’s victory was the second-half dismissal of Indonesia skipper Jordi Amat, which allowed the Lions of Mesopotamia to exert further influence into the game.

Indonesia, who remain second in Group F despite defeat, have their four-point advantage over third-placed Vietnam being slashed into one following the Golden Star Warriors’ 3-2 win over last-placed Philippines. But the Timnas Garuda‘s hopes of reaching the next round of qualifiers – as well as Asian Cup qualification – remain alive as they will host the Philippines in their last match on Tuesday, while Vietnam will have the almost-impossible task of taking on Iraq at the Basra International Stadium in their own do-or-die match.

The match at a packed Gelora Bung Karno Stadium began brightly for the visitors. Osama Rashid had an early attempt with a low shot from distance that narrowly missed the target.

Indonesia responded strongly, with Ragnar Oratmangoen posing a threat and the home team dominating possession in the early stages.

Iraq believed they had taken the lead after 15 minutes when Ibrahim Bayesh scored from a poorly cleared free-kick, but the goal was disallowed for a foul.

Oratmangoen had a shot blocked following a neat interplay with Rafael Struick, and the half ended goalless.

At the break, Iraq introduced Youssef Amyn and Jasim, who both made significant contributions in the second half.

In the 52nd minute, Jasim’s cross from the left struck Indonesia defender Justin Hubner’s hand, leading to a penalty. Hussein converted the penalty with confidence, sending Ernando Ari the wrong way despite a good dive.

Indonesia’s situation worsened when Jordi was sent off for a last-man foul on Amyn on the hour mark.

Iraq had a chance to extend their lead with 19 minutes left when Jasim was fouled in the box, but Hussein missed the penalty, shooting over the bar.

In the final 15 minutes, the match became more open. Jasim missed a one-on-one chance, and Oratmangoen’s shot was saved by Jalal Hassan.

Iraq finally secured their second goal in the 87th minute when Jasim capitalized on a rare blunder from Ernando, who was under pressure from Mohanad Ali, scoring into an empty net.