Qatar Football AssociationNews
23.10.2014 19:35 in :

Yangon, Myanmar: Super sub Akram Afif scored within seconds of coming on as Qatar claimed their maiden AFC U-19 Championship title after a 1-0 victory over DPR Korea in Thursday’s final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Yangon: Super sub Akram Afif scored within seconds of coming on as Qatar claimed their maiden AFC U-19 Championship title after a 1-0 victory over DPR Korea in Thursday’s final at Thuwunna Youth Training Centre Stadium.

Following an action-filled but goalless first half, Afif, who has started from the bench in every game he has played, was on target for the fourth time to give Qatar the lead on 50 minutes and ultimately end Korean hopes of a fourth title, despite championship glory in two of the four previous tournaments.

For the West Asians, the result caps off an undefeated campaign in Myanmar with the historic victory resulting in their first AFC championship title since they lifted the AFC U-16 Championship trophy in 1990.

Left winger Saltan Al Brake had got the action underway with the game’s first chance within the opening 10 minutes as his darting run up the flank saw his low ball across the six-yard area stabbed back towards his own goal by covering defender Min Hyo-song, who was relieved to see his goalkeeper Cha Jong-hun dive low to cut out the danger.

The Koreans were quick to respond with an opening of their own as Jin Il-sok evaded two challenges on the right to dance into the area and his low shot was almost turned in by the out-stretched leg of Jo Sol-song, but Qatar custodian Yousof Hassan pulled off an athletic stop with his feet.

Ahmed Al Sadi, the tournament’s joint-leading scorer with five goals, then had a golden chance to put his side in front on 20 minutes as Almoez Ali’s flicked header at the near post found the forward lurking by the opposite upright, his close-range shot, though, was turned behind by a sprawling Cha.

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DPR Korea’s main attacking threat, Jo Kwang-myong, had an even better chance six minutes later as Hassan could only parry out a fierce header from a Kang Nam-gwon corner and Jo pounced upon the loose ball, only to see his prodded effort deflected onto the post and aside.

An Ye-gun’s red-clad charges were beginning to take control of the first period and just after the half-hour mark Ri Un-chol sent Kim Yu-song through on goal with a delicate chipped through ball that the striker adeptly controlled. Hassan, though, did just as expertly with his leaping block that turned Kim’s shot over the crossbar.

With all the goalmouth action it was with some surprise that the tie was goalless at half-time but after just five minutes of play re-starting Qatar took the lead following an inspired substitution by their coach, Felix Sanchez Bas.

After the West Asians won a corner on the 50th minute, Afif immediately took to the field and from Abdullah Al Ahrak’s resulting in-swinger the substitute rose highest to slam home a bullet header within seconds of entering the fray.

An threw on his own bench-based goal-scorer in So Jong-hyok, who had scored after coming on against Uzbekistan in the semi-final, and DPR Korea did almost find a way back into the tie on 69 minutes as a Kang free-kick whipped into the box caused consternation amongst the Arab Gulf side with the ball pinging off the head of a defender and requiring a stunning reaction save from Hassan to finger-tip the ball wide.

With just three minutes of the tie remaining, the Koreans had one final chance to save the game as they earned a free-kick on the cusp of the penalty area. But Kwang’s effort clipped the top of the wall and Qatar were able to go on the counter with Afif surging up the pitch before laying on pass for Ali whose chip over Cha beat the custodian only to bounce off the crossbar.

And shortly after, the referee called an end to proceedings sparking frenzied celebrations on the field from Sanchez Bas and his players as they revelled in their landmark achievement.