Qatar brush aside India to notch second victory
Hosts on top of Group A with four points and a better goal difference than Saudi Arabia.
Hosts Qatar continued their rampaging ways in Group A of the Asian Olympic Qualifying Tournament, drubbing India 40-10 at the Al Duhail Indoor Hall on Saturday.
Though Saudi Arabia defeated Hong Kong 41-16 in the other Group A match, Qatar are on top of the group, thanks to their better goal difference (+65 to +36).
Before the tournament’s start, Qatar’s Spanish coach Valero Rivera had called India an ‘unknown quantity’ and hence a threat. In the game’s opening minutes, it seemed as if the coach was right.
Qatar, perhaps expecting an easy run like the one against Hong Kong, began slowly. They were in for a surprise as the Indians, shorter but stockier, defended staunchly. By the end of 10 minutes, the scoreboard read 4-2, and at 20 minutes, it was 11-3. From then on, Qatar found their rhythm and turned ruthless. They led 18-4 at half-time.
- Qatar bt India 40-10
- Saudi Arabia bt Hong Kong 41-16
Anis Zouaoui, who Rivera had conserved for the second half, pumped ten goals into the Indian net. Meanwhile, left-winger Ahmad Madadi (nine goals), and centre back Wajdi Sinen (four) kept the scoreboard ticking.
The Indians sorely lacked finishing prowess. Despite building up creative moves through the flanks, they failed in penetrating the rival defence. Naveen Singh (four) and Vikrant Singh (three) were their most effective strikers.
But for several stunning saves by the Indian goalkeeper Sombir, the scoreline would have been even more lopsided. By the final 15 minutes, the visitors appeared tired and kept conceding goals from fast breaks.
Zouaoui said total team effort had won them the game.
“I may’ve scored the most, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my team-mates. It was a total team effort, and I’m proud of it,” he told Inside Qatar.
Madadi said the focus would now shift to the game against Saudi Arabia.
“Since we’ve never played India, it took us time to assess them. Then everything fell into place. We want to progress to the next round as group toppers. So the next game against Saudi Arabia will be crucial. We’ll give it our all,” he said.
In Group B matches on Sunday, South Korea will take on Kuwait and Iran will lock horns with Bahrain.