Qatar Qualifies for China 2018
Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Qatar Tribune -- Qatar secured a berth in the AFC U-23 Championship Finals after being held to a 1-1 by Syria at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd on Sunday.
Qatar topped Group C of the qualifiers with seven points from three matches, while Syria finished in second place with five points. India finished in third place after it defeated Turkmenistan 3-1.
Hussain al-Brake scored a stunning goal from a free kick to give Qatar a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.
The left-footed defender curled in the ball past a six-man Syrian wall. Enterprising forward Almoez Ali attracted a foul from the opponent vital area after he was hacked down for Brake to score from about 23 meters.
It was a cagey affair in the opening minutes as both sides played cautiously knowing that a win for either side would automatically put them on top of Group C.
There were limited chances but Akram Afif's shot could have given Qatar the lead but his effort blazed wide.
Mouhammed Muhtabi equalized with a perfect header to beat goalkeeper Mohamed al Bakari on the hour mark. The tall striker leapt past Tarek Salman and Bassam al Rawi to connect a cross from the left flank to level the tie.
The Syrians grew more confident throwing men forward, but Qatar still managed to keep possession.
With time running out, Syria nearly took the lead when Mouhammed scuffed a golden opportunity from close range as his soft touch crossed the face of Qatar's goal.