(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Qatar kicked off their AFC U-17 Asian Cup 2023 Qualifiers Group C campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Iraq at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman on Saturday. This victory puts Qatar at a favourable position in the early stages of the qualifying group.
Iraq had a dream start to their campaign, with forward Ali Akbar Al Darraji putting them ahead in the second minute.
A stung Qatar immediately shifted gears but had to wait till the 28th minute to equalise, and it came with a touch of good fortune as Iraqi defender Kameran Ahmed Khudhair turned the ball into his own net.
Boosted by their leveller, Qatar pressed forward and were rewarded in the 39th minute, with midfielder Khalid Atiyaq Alshaaibi scoring what proved to be the winning goal. The young Qataris proved mature enough to hold off a physically gifted Iraqi side in the second half. Attacking forays by Bassam Reda and Dekhayel Al Hamad came dangerously close to extending the deficit on several occasions.
Oman, Iraq, and Qatar have been pitted against each other in Group C where they are joined by Lebanon and Bahrain. Qatar will aim for their second victory when they play Bahrain tomorrow, with hosts Oman to open their campaign against Lebanon.
Divided into five groups of four, four groups of five, and one group of three, the Qualifiers will feature 43 nations vying for 16 available seats – 10 group winners and six best runners-up who will battle for the coveted AFC U-17 Asian Cup trophy next year.
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