A goal in each half secured Qatar a 2-0 win against Bangladesh in Group E of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 at the Bangabandhu Stadium yesterday.
The win takes Qatar to the top of the standings on seven points, having claimed a 6-0 win over Afghanistan on Matchday One before playing to a goalless draw against India.
It was Bangladesh’s second defeat, having lost 1-0 to Afghanistan in their group opener.
Bangladesh came into the match hopeful they could take on the reigning Asian champions Qatar, and Jamie Day’s side began brightly as they tested goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb in the first 10 minutes.
Felix Sanchez’s Qatar, however, gradually settled in and began to dictate terms as they pushed Bangladesh deep into their own half.
Bangladesh were forced to play on the counter-attack and Qatar’s persistence paid off 28 minutes into the match with Yusuf Abdurisag breaking the deadlock after Almoez Ali, who received a long-range pass in the box, fed the forward for a finish from close range.
Qatar continued to dominate but a second goal was not forthcoming as the 2022 World Cup hosts took a slender lead into the break.
The West Asians continued to press when the match resumed and Salem Al Hajri came close in the 50th minute when he waltzed into the box but Bangladesh defended in numbers to maintain the scoreline.
Akram Afif replaced Abdurisag in the 68th minute but Qatar continued to struggle to find the second goal.
Bangladesh’s Mohammad Ibrahim gave Al Sheeb his first real test in the second half with his effort in the 72nd minute, but the custodian firmly handled the ball.
As the match seemed headed for a 1-0 Qatar win, Afif sidestepped three Bangladeshi players before sending the ball to substitute Ahmed Alaaedin Abdelmotaal and as a melee ensued, Karim Boudiaf slotted the ball home.
Qatar will return home to prepare for Oman on Tuesday, while Bangladesh travel to face regional rivals India.
Elsewhere, Iran turned on the style as they scored an emphatic 14-0 win over Cambodia in Group C yesterday.
Karim Ansarifard scored four and Sardar Azmoun a hat-trick on a historic day for Iranian football, as Asia’s top ranked side’s show of classy football was also watched by female fans at the iconic Azadi Stadium, with thousands in the stands.
Mehdi Taremi and Mohammad Mohebi registered braces while Ahmad Noorollahi, Hossein Kanaani and Mehrdad Mohammadi scored one each as Iran secured their second consecutive win.
Meanwhile, in Guangzhou, Veteran striker Yang Xu made four goals in 25 minutes during China’s 7-0 blitz of Guam while Australia easily bested a struggling Nepal with a 5-0 margin in Canberra.
Striker Kim Shin-wook scored four in South Korea’s 8-0 drubbing of Sri Lanka while Japan triumphed 6-0 against Mongolia in yesterday’s other second round group matches.
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