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 Chinanext year.

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

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

Earlier in the day at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, India beatTurkmenistan 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 theAFC U-23 Championship, Syria finished the Doha event in second spotwith 5 points.

According to AFC rules, the five best runners-up across all groupswill also qualify for the finals. However, if hosts China win theirgroup 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.

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