Saudi Arabia hold Qatar to goalless draw in AFC U23 Championship
Bangkok,Thailand: Qatar drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia in Group B of the AFC U23 Championship on Sunday to leave both sides firmly in contention to reach the competition’s quarter-finals.
With one game each still to play, the result sees Saudi Arabia move to four points following their impressive defeat of Japan on Matchday One, with Qatar – in the wake of their draw with Syria – two points adrift of their regional rivals.
Saudi Arabia complete their group stage fixtures on Wednesday when they face Syria, while Qatar will tackle Japan on the same day.
Following a cautious start at the Thammasat Stadium, there were tackles aplenty as both sides refused to give an inch, an approach that resulted in a tight and tense affair that was dominated by pockets of action in midfield.
The game finally burst into life on 39 minutes when Abdulrahman Ghareeb’s ferocious drive from 18 yards was superbly blocked by defender Qatar Mohamed Ayash.
Saudi Arabia continued to press their opponents, and it was to be they who would spurn the encounter’s best opportunity, Abdulelah Alamri failing to beat Al Yami from a tight angle in the 67th minute.
Two minutes later, Abdullah Al Ahrak flashed a shot across the face of the Saudi goal, before Al Hamdan lifted an effort over the bar when well placed.
With defences dominating, neither side was able to fashion a further opportunity, with Saudi Arabia finishing the match arguably the happier of the two come the full-time whistle.