Almoez nets three as Qatar outclass Afghanistan
Asian Cup champions romp to a 6-0 victory to start their qualification campaign in style at home.
As Qatar and Afghanistan lined up for their joint World Cup-Asian Cup qualifying round match on Thursday, fans in the stands unfurled a giant banner depicting the host nation’s epic triumph in the continental championship back in February. More than seven months have passed since that stirring success, but playing for the first time at home since then, the champions needed to be welcomed in grand fashion.
- Group A
- Guam lost to Maldives 0-1
- Philippines lost to Syria 2-5
- Group B
- Chinese Taipei lost to Jordan 1-2
- Kuwait bt Nepal 7-0
- Group C
- Cambodia drew Hong Kong 1-1
- Bahrain drew Iraq 1-1
- Group D
- Palestine bt Uzbekistan 2-0
- Singapore drew Yemen 2-2
- Group E
- Qatar bt Afghanistan 6-0
- India lost to Oman 1-2
- Group F
- Mongolia by Myanmar 1-0
- Tajikistan bt Kyrgyzstan 1-0
- Group G
- Thailand drew Vietnam 0-0
- Indonesia lost to Malaysia 2-3
- Group H
- North Korea bt Lebanon 2-0
- Sri Lanka lost to Turkmenistan 0-2
Down on the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium turf, Hassan Al Haydos and his men responded with great panache. Playing with confidence and authority befitting their status, they swatted aside Afghanistan’s feeble challenge. The 6-0 scoreline at the end was an apt reflection of their superiority, even though the margin could have been much bigger had they wished so.
Almoez Ali, the man who had scored nine goals in the Asian Cup victory, sizzled with a hat-trick (4th, 10thand 51stminutes) while Al Haydos (13th), Abdelkarim Hassan (34th) and Boulem Khoukhi (67th) helped themselves to a goal apiece in the home team’s romp.
Qatar led by four goals at half-time and they could afford to go slow in the second half against a dispirited opponents.
Afghanistan, sadly, had very little to offer. Drawn from their diaspora spread all over the world, Anoush Dastgar’s team only had three days’ training together before this game and that showed. A weak defence and an almost non-existent attack made Qatar’s task easy.
After the first round games in Group E, Qatar lead the table on goal difference from Oman, who defeated hosts India 2-1 in the other group match.
Eager to stamp their dominance early, Qatar got the perfect start when Almoez applied finishing touches to a move initiated by Al Haydos. The Qatar captain found Akram Afif on the right and his curling cross was smartly headed in by Almoez in the middle.
Ovays Azizi, the Afghanistan goalkeeper, had to pick out the ball from the back of the net two more times in the next 10 minutes. Almoez did the damage again after a quick passing bout with Akram Afif from the left before the captain struck, completing a quicksilver move between Khoukhi and Akram. And when Abdelkarim Hassan unleashed a thunderous shot from the left for the fourth goal following another Akram pass, Afghanistan’s morale had been well and truly shattered.
The second half was predictably pedestrian. Almoez, darting in from the left, completed his hat-trick before setting up Khoukhi for the sixth goal. More than 20 minutes remained on the clock at that point, but the hosts preferred a slow progress to the final whistle, limiting the damage to Afghanistan’s pride.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Olympic squad, preparing for the AFC Under-23 Championships in Thailand next January, will play two friendlies against Jordan on Friday and Monday. The matches will be held at Aspire Pitch 4.