QATAR U-23 QUALIFIES FOR AFC 2020 CHAMPIONSHIP
27 Mar 2019, General
Doha, 26 March 2019. Aspire Academy graduate, Hassan Ahmed Palang scored twice for Qatar U-23 team in 2-2 with Oman that ensured passage to AFC U-23 Championship finals to be held in Thailand in next January.
Needing a draw to qualify, Qatar were pinned back when a formidable Oman side opened the scoring. Oman proved dangerous at set-pieces throughout the game and against the run of play put their noses in front courtesy of a firm header from Amran Al Hidi, which Qatar goalkeeper Yazan Hussein got a hand to, but couldn't keep out midway through the first half.
Both Qatar and Oman came into the final Group A match on six points and aware that a win would secure passage while a draw favoured Qatar who boasted a better goal difference.
Five minutes into resumption, Qatar equalized when Palang launched himself in the air to meet a cross from the left flank and headed home much to the delight of the appreciative home crowd. At 1-1 Qatar were heading for qualification, but Palang struck again with his second headed goal after a lovely ball from midfielder Nasser Al Ahrak.
Oman showed how good a team they were by hitting with just over ten minutes of normal play remaining. And yes, it was yet another header, the fourth of the match powerfully planted into the roof of the net by Saud Al Habsi. Oman’s second goal upped the match’s tempo as the visitors sensing victory went for broke while Qatar seemed unsure whether to defend or go searching for another goal. In the end the Oman were reduced to ten men when Asad Al Awadi was shown a second yellow card with three minutes remaining, and their challenge fizzled leaving Qatar to hold on for a draw and qualify for AFC U-23 Championship Thailand 2020.
There is extra significance for this AFC U-23 Championships, which will take place from January 8 to 26, 2020, as the top three teams qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in July, although should Japan emerge as one of them, the fourth-placed side will advance.