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It has been a long time coming but it was worth the wait...

Iraq’s first game on home soil in seven years ended on Friday evening with a 3-0 win over Palestine.

The Asian champions celebrated in style as they returned to home soil for the first time since July 2002.The game was played in Arbil, the capital city of the autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Hawar Mulla Mohamad, Younis Mahmoud and Loay Salah scored the goals.

Hawar opened the scoring after 19 minutes from close range and Mahmoud, who saw a first half penalty saved, added a second ten minutes after the break.

Salah made it three in the dying seconds to make it a night to remember in Iraq.

“The holding of this match in Arbil gives a clear message to the world that Iraq is recovering and security is prevailing,” Hussein Saeed, head of the Iraqi Football Federation, announced to the 25,000 fans in the Francois Hariri Stadium before the game.

“We are here today because football is the message of love.”  

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