Qatar top group after nail-biting win over Iraq
Doha: Hosts Qatar defeated Iraq 3-2 on penalties to progress as winners from Group C of the AFC U-19 Championship 2018 Qualifiers on Wednesday.
Regulation time had ended 1-1 in a thrilling match at Grand Hamad Stadium, a result that should also see Iraq qualifying as one of the five best second-placed teams for the tournament to be held in Indonesia next October.
Iraq were the better side in terms of ball possession in the first half, with Qatar depending mainly on counter-attacks.
Iraq tested the hosts' goal with some powerful long range efforts, with Ahmed Farhan rattling the bar with a stunning volley from 25 yards out while Hyder Hussein tested goalkeeper Shehab Mamdouh with another effort from distance.
But it was Qatar who took the lead, in first half added-on time, like they did in the first match against Lebanon.
Mohammad Waad’s free-kick from the right hit the wall but Rasheed caught the Iraqi defence napping and squared the ball to Abdulla Nasser who slotted it home from close range.
Iraq equalised in the 62nd minute from a penalty after Qatari goalkeeper Mamdouh fouled Mohammed Dawood inside the box.
Dawood was sent clear by a through ball from Saif Khalid, and Mamdouh who looked the favourite for the ball came out second best, and was also shown a yellow for the foul.
Dawood converted the penalty to draw the score level.
As both teams missed chances the game moved into penalties, where Qatar keeper Mamdouh turned a hero and almost became a villain.
Mamdouh saved efforts from Muntadher Abdulsada, Mohammed Ridha and though he had saved Muntadhir Mohammed’s effort as well, he had moved too soon and was shown a second yellow and marching orders for his vehement protest.
Luckily for Qatar, captain Nasser Abdulsalam, who converted their fourth kick, donned the goalkeeper’s gloves and saved Mohammed’s second attempt from the spot with his legs.
Ali Ahmed Radha and Mohammed Dawood converted Iraq's kicks in the tiebreaker.
For Qatar, Abdulrasheed, Ahmed Suhail scored from the spot while Ahmed AlGanehi's effort was saved by Iraqi keeper Ali Ibadi.