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Afif stars as Qatar stun Switzerland

Lugano: Qatar scored a morale-boosting 1-0 win over Switzerland in an international friendly on Wednesday as the West Asian side ramped up preparations for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

Akram Afif was the hero, scoring the winner four minutes from time to stun World No 8 Switzerland at the Cornadero Stadium in Lugano, Switzerland.

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Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez said he hoped the win would give his players confidence.

“We hope this game gives our players the confidence that we can play against top teams and to keep working hard,” Sanchez said to media after the match.

“I’m sure in Qatar people are very proud of our players today and they’re going to give us more hope to prepare the Asian Cup.”

The win, added Sanchez, results could be achieved with proper planning.

“When you’re coaching a team like Qatar and you’re facing a top team like we faced today we need to do more things that we are not used to do but that’s the way to compete because at the moment Switzerland are No 8 in the world, we’re No 96. This for a reason.”

Switzerland started as favourites and dominated from start to finish with 64 percent possession and 17 shots on goals - four of which were on target to Qatar's two.

The Swiss, who advanced to the Round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, hit the woodwork twice and were made to pay for their misses by Afif, who scored off a Qatar counter-atack.

Qatar have another friendly on Monday against Iceland as they continue preparations for their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group E campaign where they will face Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and DPR Korea.

Photos: AFP

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