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Tashkent: Australia reached the AFC Futsal Championship quarter-finals for a sixth consecutive time on Saturday after seeing off Qatar 5-2 at the Uzbekistan Stadium in a match where both Gregory Giovenali and Tobias Seeto scored braces.

After Daniel Fogarty had handed Australia a second-minute lead, Hadi Al Braidi responded almost immediately for Qatar before goals from Giovenali and Seeto put the Futsalroos in a commanding position heading into the break.

The sides traded goals early in the second half through Giovenali’s second and a Lucas strike before Seeto also completed his brace to round out the Australian win.

Australia will now go head-to-head with Japan, winners in the day’s earlier game against Malaysia, on Monday for top spot in Group D.

Watch match highlights

“I was really pleased with our preparation heading into the match, we knew this was like a final for us and we started with great intensity which was exactly what I wanted,” Australia coach Rob Varela said.

“We wanted to make sure we didn’t get beaten in one-on-one situations and at times we pressed high up the court and we pinched a couple of goals on the counter-attack which also pleased me.”

In a frenetic opening stanza Flavio gave away possession leading to an Australian corner that was delivered by Seeto and swept home by Fogarty to put the Futsalroos 1-0 up inside two minutes.

Barely thirty seconds later Al Braidi responded for Qatar only for Australia to immediately go down the other end and restore their lead through a shot from the right by captain Giovenali.

Seeto, one of only two Australian players based abroad, then went on a fine solo run against a backtracking Qatari defence that allowed him the time and space to slot home a third with a quarter of an hour still remaining in the half.

Thereafter the match settled into a familiar pattern with Qatar looking to hit on the counter and Australia playing a strong, pressing game forcing frequent turnovers that allowed them to have the best of the goalscoring chances.

Fogarty, Jarrod Basger, and Daine Merrin all came close to extending the lead and Lucas saw a shot flash across the face of goal for Qatar but ultimately Australia maintained their 3-1 lead as the sides went to the break.

Australia added a fourth six minutes after the restart when Giovenali’s cross was assisted into the goal after a mistake from Qatari goalkeeper Abdulrahman Mohsin.

Ninety seconds later and Qatar had again reduced the deficit after a powerful shot from Lucas flew into the left hand side of the Australia goal to make it 4-2 with 13 minutes remaining.

With the clock winding down Qatar turned to the powerplay but it was Australia who extended their lead in the 37th minute as the impressive Seeto drove home a powerful shot from the left to round out the 5-2 victory.

“We made some simple mistakes. We conceded five goals but three were just mistakes and that made it very difficult for us to compete,” said Qatar coach Tiago De Sousa.

“In an attacking sense we were not at our best today. We didn’t control things and even though we had some good movements we were simply let down when we had the ball and that was our problem.”

Photo: AFC