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ASPIRE GRADUATES ON TARGET AS QATAR BEAT LEBANON IN AFC CUP

10 Jan 2019, General

Al Ain, 9 January 2019. Aspire Academy graduates scored both goals as Qatar defeated Lebanon 2-0 in the first round of the 2019 Asian Cup played last night at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in United Arab Emirates. The Group E match was the first game for Qatar who play North Korea in game 2 on Sunday 13th January.

Graduate Bassam Al-Rawi scored from a free kick after 65 minutes before another graduate Almoez Ali notched the second on 79 minutes. The Qatari team made up in huge part from Aspire Academy graduates showed patience and maturity to pick up a 2-0 win over a determined and well-organised Lebanon side.

Qatar team coach, Felix Sanchez’s side acquitted themselves well in a tight and absorbing opening quarter which had few opportunities as the defences dominated. Indeed, it took until the 37th minute for fans of either side to have anything to cheer for when the Lebanese thought they had taken the lead. Ali Hamam raced off to celebrate with his teammates after slotting Hassan Maatouk’s corner into the Qatari goal, only for the sound of the Lebanese fans to drown out referee Ma Ning’s whistle with the Chinese official blowing for a foul on Tarek Salman.
In an opening period of few chances, it was Lebanon who looked more likely to score, with Maatouk pulling the trigger on an effort of his own just before halftime, but his scissor kick flew high over the bar.
Another Aspire Graduate  and recently crowned AFC Player of the Year Abdelkarim Hassan was introduce just after the hour mark and he was soon involved in the move that led the lead when al-Rawi scored from the free- kick. With 11 minutes remaining, it was Hassan’s driving run that created space for Akram Afif and, when the winger received the ball, his pass found Hatem, whose shot was parried back into play by Kahlil in goal for Lebanon only for  Ali to react quickest and stab the ball into the empty net to ensure a winning start to the campaign for Qatar.

Qatar ‘s win leaves them level on three points with Saudi Arabia at the top of the early standings in Group E.

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