Iraq coach Jorvan Vieira must have wondered why his team bothered leaving Bangkok at all. After coming to the somewhat disconcerting realisation that his team had no accommodation booked upon their arrival in Kuala Lumpur, Vieira probably let fly with a few choice words two days later when he stepped out on to the pitch at the cavernous Bukit Jalil Stadium. Greeted by the now familiar site of torrential rain lashing the ground, the pitch was visibly cutting as the two teams warmed up.
Outside the ground fans could have been forgiven for preparing their arks, as apocalyptic-looking rain clouds drifted over the city, seemingly determined to converge directly above the bafflingly large stadium. If the Petronas Towers are the obvious symbol of Kuala Lumpur then Bukit Jalil is a symbol of excess – it is difficult to envisage how this behemoth of a stadium could ever be filled to capacity. Nevertheless there was a noticeably improved atmosphere for the semi-final clash between Iraq and Korea Republic, as thousands of noisy Korean fans forced their Iraqi counterparts to lift their own game.
Coach Vieira had also called on his team to lift their game ahead of this clash, but the heavy, rain-sodden pitch made it clear from the outset that nothing short of a battle of attrition would settle this encounter. And so it was, as both Qiu Qiu Online teams punched and counter-punched in a nervy opening forty-five minutes. Both teams had chances, with the penetrative Hawar Mohammed Taher not enjoying the best of tournaments in front of goal for the Iraqi’s, whilst the livewire Ki Hun-Yeom lacked the composure to finish off a couple of decent chances for the Koreans.
With incessant rain continuing to lash the ground and both teams …