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DOHA: Hosts Qatar on Wednesday beat Turkmenistan 2-0 in their opening
clash at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifying group.
Star striker Akram Afif scored two early goals in the first half as
Qatar – coached by Felix Sanchez – impressed fans at Jassim Bin Hamad
Turkmenistan coach Agamyiadov Ahmet on Tuesday had said his team was
wary of Afif’s goal-scoring prowess and the Qatar striker didn’t
disappoint the home fans on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Syria crushed India with a similar scoreline in
what was the opening match of the five-day event at the same venue.
“It was a great match. We have worked hard,” Afif said after the
match. “The team played really well. It was good to get the points,”
“We hope to deliver another good performance in our next game,” he said.
At the same venue on Friday, Qatar will take on India in a game that
starts at 8:00pm while Syria battle Turkmenistan in a match that kicks
off at 5:00pm.
Afif, who plays most of his football in Europe, scored the first goal
in the 4th minute and the second in the 15th minute.
Qatar clearly looked the stronger side attacking and defending with
command. The home team is aiming to win all three games.
The points leaders at this event will book a berth at the 2018 AFC
U-23 Asian Cup final to be held in China next January.