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 Mohamed 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.
Meanwhile Jamie Maclaren scored a hat-trick in Australia’s 5-0 thrashing of Nepal during Thursday’s World Cup qualifier in Canberra.
The Socceroos missed several opportunities against their 161st-ranked visitors but maintained a tight defence and dominated possession through the match. “We created a lot of chances, but we got a bit more ruthless when it counts,” said Australia coach Graham Arnold after his side’s biggest home win in three years. “Overall, I’m very happy.”
Melbourne City’s Maclaren opened scoring in the sixth minute when Chemjong lost his grip on a drive from the top of the box.
He doubled the lead in the 18th with a header off Rhyan Grant.
International debutant Harry Souttar followed five minutes later with his own nod into goal, but a potential fourth by Mathew Leckie seconds before the break was controversially ruled offside.
The visitors rallied in the second half but notched an own goal after failing to deflect Souttar in minute 59.
Late substitutes Ajdin Hrustic and Awer Mabil kept up the pressure but could not capitalise on their attempts before Maclaren made his third in the closing moments.
In Tehran, Karim Ansarifard notched up four goals, while Sardar Azmoun scored three as Iran breezed past minnows Cambodia.
Mehd Taremi and Mohammad Mohebi recorded a brace each, while Mortaza Pouraliganji, Mohamed Kanani and Ahmad Nourallahi helped themselves with a goal each.
Striker Kim Shin-wook scored four in South Korea’s 8-0 drubbing of Sri Lanka while Japan triumphed 6-0 against Mongolia in Thursday’s other second round group matches.
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