Qatar defeat China at Khalifa Stadium
Doha: A first half goal from Almoez Ali helped Qatar win the international friendly match against China 1-0 at the Khalifa International Stadium here yesterday.
The all-important goal came in the 25th minute when Ali’s right footed shot from the centre of the box landed in the top right corner of the net, sending the local fans into celebration mood very early into the match.
Thereafter, China tried to break open the Qatar defence but without any success.
As the match tended to get a bit physical the referee reached out to his pocket to flash yellow cards to one player from each side. Zhang Linpeng of China and Tarek Salman of Qatar, bot got booked for bad fouls by the referee.
The teams went into the half time break with Qatar leading 1-0.
In the second half, Qatar who were treating the match as a preparation for next year’s Asian Cup, brought about a few substitutions as coach Felix Sanchez experimented with different combinations ahead of the continental tournament.
Sultan Al Brake came in for Hasan Al Haydos with five minutes left for the final whistle while earlier, Hashim Ali replaced Almoez Ali and Ahmed Fathi came in for Assim Madibo.
On the other hand, China made two changes. Mirahmetjan Muzepper went out while Gao Lin saw action as Yu Hanchao replaced Piao Cheng.
Boualem Khoukhi of Qatar was also shown the yellow card for a bad foul in the second half.
At the start of the first half, China made three changes going into the second half as they went all out for the equaliser, Coach Marcello Lippi, brought in Zhao Xuri for Yu Hai, Li Xuepeng replaced Yu Yang and Yang Xu made way for Zhang Xizhe.
Yesterday’s match was one of the two friendlies that Qatar has lined up for this month. They will take on Palestine on Tuesday, as they prepare for the 2019 Asian Cup which will be held in the UAE in January next year.
The friendly clash against Palestine will also be played at the air-cooled Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
The Spanish tactician named a strong 25-member squad ahead of the two friendlies all who will have a closer look during the matches.
Qatar national players took part in a preparatory camp in Austria ahead of the start of the season, during which the team played two friendlies.
Out of them, some of the young players also competed in the 2018 Asian Games which concluded in Indonesia earlier this week.
Some of the players who played in the continental event, including goalkeeper Mohammed Bakri and Tarek Salman have been retained by the Qatar coach.
The squad also includes experienced players of the calibre of Pedro Miguel, Boualem Khoukhi, Hassan Al Haidos, Akram Afif, Bassam Hisham Al Rawi, Sultan Al Brake, Assim Madibo, Al Moez Ali and Ahmad Alaa.
China, coached by former Juventus and Italy manager Lippi, will now head to Bahrain for their next friendly game to be played on Monday.
The last time the Chinese and Qatari teams met was during the FIFA World Cup qualifying third round in which the East Asians won 2-0.
Qatar will play two more friendly matches in October, against Ecuador on 12th in Doha and Uzbekistan four days later in Tashkent.
In the 2019 Asian Cup, Qatar will be playing against Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and North Korea in Group E.
China have been drawn in Group C along with South Korea, Kirghizstan and The Philippines.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup will be held in the UAE from January 5 to February 1.