An Iraqi soccer fan shot dead a player of the opposing team as he tried to score an equalising goal in the final minutes of a match, police said on Monday.
The shooting on Saturday in Hilla, 100 km south of Baghdad, during a match between local teams, underscored the country's propensity to lawlessness even as violence by militant groups falls to lows not seen since mid-2003.
"As soon as Haider Kadhim [the player] was alone in front of the goalkeeper and close to equalising, a fan in the crowd fireda pistol at him," a senior police officer in Hilla, who declined to be named, said.
"Wearrested this fan immediately but unfortunately the player died."
Iraqislove soccer and have often expressed hope the game would help reconcile warring ethnic groups and sects.
Iraq's surprise victory in the 2007 Asian Cup brought rare joy and unity to the shattered nation, with Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds pouring into the streets to celebrate their team's 1-0win over Saudi Arabia in the Jakarta final.