Qatar Top Group As Debutants Indonesia Advance

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) #AFC U23 ASIAN CUP Fawad Hussain |The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: Hosts Qatar yesterday played out a goalless draw against Australia, topping Group A which saw debutants Indonesia becoming the second side to advance to the AFC U23 Asian Cup quarter-finals after outclassing Jordan 4-1.

Desperate for a win to keep their hopes alive, Australia pushed hard for victory making several attempts as they dominated the best part of the game at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

Goalkeeper Ali Nader emerged as the star for the home side making several good saves including a fine block from Keegan Jelicic's attempt in 75th minute as Australia will return home without scoring a goal in the tournament.

Mohammad Al Mannai, who scored a last-gasp winner against Jordan on Thursday, gave Australia an early scare with a couple of attempts including a brilliant hit from a distance in the 13th minute. Qatar, who progressed with seven points, will meet South Korea or Japan in the first quarter-final on Thursday.

At Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium, Marselino Ferdinan converted a penalty in 23rd minute and completed his brace with a strike in 70th minute as Indonesia sent Jordan packing, entering the quarter-finals with six points.

Witan Sulaeman (40th minute) and Komang Teguh (86th minute) were the other scorers for Indonesia as Jordan were only able to reduce lead following an own-goal by Justin Hubner in 79th minute.

Australia finished third with two points while Jordan wrapped up their Group A campaign on the bottom with a solitary point.

Saudi Arabia eye third win on trot

Meanwhile, defending champions Saudi Arabia will play against Iraq at Khalifa International Stadium today, targeting their third straight victory as they aim to top Group C.

Following wins against Thailand and Tajikistan in which they scored nine goals, the title holders appear set to cruise into the last eight irrespective of today's result.

Coach Saad Al Shehri hoped his team to maintain their phenomenal form after his side thumped Thailand 5-0 on Friday.

“We were at our absolute best (against Thailand), whether in offence or defence. Hopefully against Iraq, we can continue to do the same,” he said.

With three points to their credit, Iraq are in a must-win situation to keep their hopes for the knockout stage.

“Our fate is in our hands now with the result against Saudi Arabia being the key. They are skillful and have been playing together for three years,” said Iraq coach Radhi Shenaishil.

Thailand, who also have three points, will meet eliminated Tajikistan in other Group C match, hoping to secure win at Al Janoub Stadium.

In a Group B showdown, South Korea and Japan will face off at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium to determine group winners with both the sides having advanced to the quarters already following a pair of wins each.

In other group match, UAE and China will play for pride at Abdullah Bin Khalifa Stadium after being eliminated.


The Peninsula

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