Brave Qatar lose to star-studded Portugal in European qualifier
DEBRECEN, Hungary: Former European champions Portugal beat Qatar 3-1 in their 2022 World Cup, European qualifying, match on Saturday.
Portugal, playing without star Cristiano Ronaldo, delivered a commanding show against the 2019 Asian champions Qatar.
André Silva (23), Otávio (24) and Bruno Fernandes (88) scored the goals for the world number 8 side. For Qatar, ranked 42 on the FIFA computer, Abdulkarim Hassan reduced the deficit in the 61st minute.
Coached by Fernando Santos, Portugal grabbed an early advantage through slick set-piece moves.
However, it was Qatar who devised the game’s first significant opportunity when a counter attack saw Akram Afif thread the ball inside the box to Almoiz Ali, who unleashed a thunderous shot that hit the crossbar.
In the 23rd minute, Silva opened the scoring for 2016 European champions with an accurate header to the far post off a cross from Joao Mário. Feared striker Otavio doubled Portugal’s lead a minute later in a similar fashion when he headed home with ease.
In the 61st minute, Asian Player of the Year award winner Hassan jumped high on a corner to produce a near-perfect header to the left of goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Earlier in the game, Hassan had picked up a yellow card in just the 3rd minute of the intense clash played in front of a sizable crowd.
Qatar suffered a setback when keeper Meshal Barsham was red-carded following a VAR replay. The referee decided to send off the Qatar goalkeeper after bringing down Portugal’s Goncalo Guedes just outside the box.
After playing most of the second half with ten men, Qatar’s Bualem Khouki was also shown the red card in the 85th minute.
Qatar, the current Asian champions, take on Luxembourg in their last Group A match on their ongoing European trip on September 7.