Gutsy Qatar draw against Syria, seal China berth

DOHA: Qatar on Sunday produced a fighting 1-1 draw against Syria to secure a berth at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup finals to be held in China next year.




In the last match of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup qualifying event, Qatar opened the scoring through Sultan Al Bareik who found the Syrian net with a spectacular direct free-kick in the 37th minute.




Syria equalised in the 60th minute when Mohammed Rafat Muhtadi beat Qatar defenders with a slick snap-header under lights as Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.




Earlier in the day at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, India beat Turkmenistan 3-1 to finish third in the four-nation qualifying event.

Despite the draw on Sunday, Syria also qualified for the China finals.




While group winners Qatar (7 points) automatically qualified for the AFC U-23 Championship, Syria finished the Doha event in second spot with 5 points.




According to AFC rules, the five best runners-up across all groups will also qualify for the finals. However, if hosts China win their group or are among the best five runners-up, the sixth best runner-up
will also qualify.





In their opening game, Qatar beat Turkmenistan 2-0 followed by a 1-0 win over India.