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Qatar storm into quarters after 4-0 win over Taipei

Gulf Times logo Gulf Times 25/10/2018 Syndigate.info
a group of people in a field © Provided by Gulf Times

Qatar players celebrate after beating Chinese Taipei and qualifying for the quarter-finals of the AFC Under-19 Championship in Indonesia.

AFC/Jakarta

Qatar progressed to the AFC U-19 Championship quarter-finals yesterday as a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei helped them finish top of a tight Group A.

Qatar, Indonesia and the UAE all finished on six points but the Emiratis were eliminated on the basis of goals scored in matches between the three teams. Yesterday, the UAE crashed to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Indonesia, the only goal coming from Witan Sulaeman.

A flurry of second half goals ensured the nervy victory for Qatar who had gone into the game knowing that only a win would have guaranteed them a ticket through to the last eight.

Qatar, the 2014 title winners will now meet the yet to be decided runners-up in Group B, with Sunday’s encounter sure to be a titanic tussle given that both a spot in the semi-finals and a berth at next year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup will be up for grabs.

On what proved to be a tense night of football, Qatar came close to breaking the deadlock on 11 minutes when Abdulrasheed Umaru thumped a fierce angled drive against the bar, before goalkeeper Li Guan-Pei did well to deny Mohamed Waad Abdulwahhab and Umaru in quick succession shortly after.

Umaru was once again foiled by Li in the 27th minute, while Hashim Ali’s clever flick from a corner failed to beat the alert Chinese Taipei custodian shortly after half-hour mark.

In the final moments of what had proved to be a dominant yet decidedly frustrating half for the Qataris, Li did supremely well to repel a rasping Umaru drive from 12 yards and Ahmed Suhail planted a header narrowly wide of the target much to his annoyance.

Qatar’s ascendancy showed no sign of abating, but more resolute Chinese Taipei defending forced them to wait until the 57th minute before taking the lead with substitute Khaled Mansour drilling a shot across Li and into the net.

With Chinese Taipei’s resolve clearly broken and the East Asians failing to must a genuine opportunity of their own, Qatar added a second through Hashim Ali courtesy of a deft finish four minutes later.

As chances became few and far between, Qatar pressed for a third and it duly came with 13 minutes remaining, Hashim Ali bagging his second of the game with a delightful curling effort that beat Li’s despairing dive.

Qatar rounded off the scoring on 86 minutes when Umaru expertly converted a penalty after Khaled Mohammed had been brought down in the area by Chiu Po-Jui.

Meanwhile, Indonesia started in a spirited fashion with Egy Maulana Vikri and Sadil Ramdani both causing early headaches for the Emiratis.

With newfound defensive organisation and a 30,000-strong crowd roaring them on, the hosts bore little resemblance to the side that conceded six goals in less than an hour against Qatar.

Todd Rivaldo Ferre, Indonesia’s three-goal super sub against the Qataris, remained on the bench throughout the opening 45 minutes but he was hardly needed as Indonesia were largely the better team.

Despite that, the decisive goal was the result of sheer opportunism, with Witan robbing Emirati defender Yousef Ali of the ball 40 yards from goal before outpacing in the vicinity and slamming the ball home from just inside the penalty area.

With the crowd electrified, the Emiratis had to negotiate a tricky ten-minute period to limit the damage to one, with the ever-dangerous Ali Saleh earning a free kick, and forcing Muhammad Riyandi into a solid save upon taking it, to give the West Asians a moment of respite.

With Qatar and Chinese Taipei locked at 0-0 in the other match, both sides were going to the quarter-finals as things stood at half-time, but both knew they required a positive result to remain in control of their own destiny.

Rivlado Ferre was introduced at the break, local hopes suffered a major blow in the 53rd minute, when Nurhidayat was sent off for a second bookable offence after bringing down Omar Ahmed Saleh.

The complexion of the game changed in an instant, and it was the visitors who began to look more threatening, although the Garuda Muda were still able to produce moments of promise when they ventured forward.

Qatari goals in Bogor meant United Arab Emirates could no longer afford to lose, and they had their best chance of the game so far when Ali Saleh volleyed wide from 12 yards in the 74th minute.

In a chaotic finale, and despite seven minutes of additional time, Indonesia held on to secure not only a famous victory, but also an improbable trip to the last eight.

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