Thursday 04 August 2016, 19:03

Iraq, Denmark share spoils

Iraq and Denmark opened the Men's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 with an entertaining goalless draw at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.

Iraq extended their record of never losing in a Men's Olympic Football Tournament opener, while Denmark's start in Rio 2016 continued their legacy of having taking part in the very first edition in 1908.

The first half was lively with both teams pressing for the first goal. Denmark had the first significant chance of the match when Casper Nielsen found captain Lasse Vibe, but his shot hit the base of the right post.

From there, it was Iraq that set the attacking tone for the majority of the half. Udinese's Ali Adnan lived up to his star billing by having a major influence on the match. His team-mates were able to find him with regularity on the left wing.

In the 36th minute, Adnan cut inside from the left and found Hammadi Ahmed, but the No7 could not connect with the cross and the Danish defence was able to clear.

Adnan also showed his strength taking free-kicks, challenging Denmark goalkeeper Jeppe Hojbjerg on two occasions near the end of the first half. Hojbjerg was up to the challenge, making assertive saves.

Denmark turned things around from a defensive standpoint in the second half, coping with Adnan on the left and dealing with Iraq's attacks more effectively, leading to less dangerous shots for their opponents.

It wasn't until the last five minutes of the match when Iraq really threatened the Danish goal. Adnan had two more free-kicks saved by Hojbjerg, while Saad Luabi also had a close-range header, but it went just wide.

The teams played a competitive match in the Group A opener. Iraq will next play hosts Brazil on Sunday, while the Danes will go up against South Africa.