Qatar outclass Sri Lanka to start campaign in style
Mekki strikes two goals in 5-1 win for hosts in Group B of AFC U-19 qualifying round; Yemen edge Turkmenistan
Qatar outclassed Sri Lanka 5-1 to begin their campaign in the 2020 AFC U-19 Championship qualifying rounds on a strong note at the Aspire Academy ground on Wednesday.
The home team proved far superior to the Sri Lankans in all aspects of the game. The visitors were unable to mount any sort of challenge to their rivals on the day. Qatar could have won by a bigger margin but they were a tad unlucky as a clutch of shots found the post, missing the mark narrowly.
Still, their coach Fabio Cesar could feel satisfied with the day’s work as his team occupies top spot in Group B. Yemen, who beat Turkmenistan 2-1 in the other match, are second. Both teams are on three points but Qatar’s healthy goal difference meant they occupy top spot.
Mekki Mohsin Tembari scored two goals for Qatar, in the fifth and 44th minutes respectively, while Mostafa Esam Kadira (19th) and Jassim Fahad Al Zarra (63rd) struck once each. In between, Sri Lanka’s Avishka Deshan added an own goal to boost Qatar’s tally.
There were quite a few Sri Lankan supporters in the stands and they were in for an early jolt when Qatar wrested the lead through Mekki. The forward, put through by captain Naif Abdulraheem, beat two Lankan defenders before drilling a shot past goalkeeper Mohamed Mursith.
Mostafa then added the second with a thumping header off a corner by Jassim Al Mehairi.
Sri Lanka, hoping to prevent a rout, soon pulled their boys back and Qatar had to spread the play wide in an attempt to find gaps in the rival defence. Qatar also attempted some long-rangers to break through, with Al Mehairi narrowly missing the target once.
A minute from half-time, Qatar netted the third goal. Al Zarra did the spadework, dribbling up and firing a shot goalward. Pirasanth blocked the shot but Mekki tapped in the rebound.
Sri Lanka had a moment of joy when Mohamed Shabeer trapped a long ball from his half and fired a 25-yarder on the run for a superb goal in the 45th.
They celebrated as if they had won the match but it was Qatar who had the last laugh, slamming in two more goals in the second half.
First Deshan put the ball into his own net, attempting to make a clearance, and then Al Zarra added the fifth, timing his run to perfection to connect a cross from Al Mehairi.
Qatar next play Turkmenistan while Sri Lanka take on Yemen, with both matches scheduled on Friday.