Al Haydos and Khouki earn Qatar 2-2 draw against Iceland
Eupen, Belgium: Qatar on Monday produced a fighting 2-2 draw against World Cup side Iceland in an international friendly.
Captain Hassan Al Haydos (3) and Bualem Khoukhi (68) struck once in each half as Qatar fought off freezing cold conditions to earn the draw.
It was a positive result for coach Felix Sanchez and his boys who stunned Switzerland 1-0 in their international friendly in Lugano four days ago.
Ari Freyr Skulason (29) and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson (56) scored the goals for Iceland.
At Kehrwegstadion in Eupen, Belgium, Al Annabi were up against not only a strong Icelandic outfit – ranked 36th on the FIFA computer – but also the cold weather hovering around two degrees Celsius.
However, a morale boosting win against eighth ranked Switzerland last Wednesday, had a big impact on Qatari players’ confidence against Iceland who featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia earlier this year.
The confidence was clearly visible on Monday when Al Haydos put his side on top in as early as third minute.
The Qatar captain brilliantly executed a direct free-kick from the left side of the box, beating Icelandic goalkeeper Runar Runarsson as the ball flew into the top right corner of the net to make it 1-0 in favour of the visitors.
Iceland reduced the deficit in the 29th minute when defender Ari Freyr Skulason made the best out of a free-kick when his left-footed shot from outside the box flew like a bullet into the top right corner.
Both teams were looking for chances to take the lead before the half time break but missed several attempts.
When the play resumed, both teams tried their best to aim for the the 2-1 lead, but it was Iceland who succeeded in their ambition.
Star forward Sigthorsson scored off a penalty in the 56th minute to add one more to his tally of 22 international goals.
Qatari forward Almoez Ali came close to net an equaliser in the very next minute with an aggressive move at close range from goal, but did not succeed.
But Qatar struck back in the 68th minute when defender Khoukhi stunned the home crowd with a brilliant curling shot from just outside the box to the high centre of the goal to make it 2-2.
Qatar play two friendly matches in October, a 4-3 win over Ecuador on 12th in Doha was followed by a 0-2 defeat to Uzbekistan four days later in Tashkent.
Coach Felix Sanchez will be looking to test his players against formidable opposition in a bid to form a powerful side in the build-up to the 2019 Asian Cup set to take place next January in the United Arab Emirates.
In the 2019 Asian Cup, Qatar will be playing against Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and North Korea in Group E.