(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Striker Almoez Ali has set his sights on continuing the rich vein of form he is currently in after scoring twice against China PR in a 2-1 win that saw Qatar finish top of Group A, and seal a place in the AFC U23 Championship 2018 quarter-finals.
The 21-year-old's brace took his tally for the tournament to three, and with a last-eight tussle against Palestine, runners-up of Group B, Ali is in no mood to stop hitting the back of the net just yet.
'Of course, I feel very happy that we have qualified for the next round and I want to say congratulations to my teammates, said the Al Duhail forward, who added to his Matchday One strike in a 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan, as host nation China were eliminated from the competition.
'I am also very happy that I scored the goals. I now hope I can continue scoring and (in the process) help my team carry on winning.
Ali is more than aware of the test that awaits his side as they look to improve on the fourth-place finish they achieved at the competition's last edition in 2016. 'We have played every game as if it was a final and won all of our three games, he said.
Palestine seal second spot in Group B
Tournament debutants Palestine sensationally qualified for the quarter-finals yesterday as a comprehensive 5-1 win over Thailand, coupled with DPR Korea's loss to Japan, saw them progress to the knockout phase as Group B runners-up.
Four first half goals laid the foundations for the thrilling victory which saw the Palestinians secure second place on goal difference from their Korean counterparts, and confirm a last eight meeting with Qatar on Friday.
In what was to be a sign of things to come, Palestine raced out of the blocks at the start of the opening half, as first Mohamed Rashid fired narrowly over from distance on five minutes, and then Oday Dabbagh guided a header wide of the post when well-placed shortly after.
That early Palestine pressure was to pay handsome dividends in the 15th minute when Dabbagh's neat lay-off set up Mohanad Fannoun, who lashed the ball home from fully 20 yards past Thailand goalkeeper Nont Muangngam.
The energetic Dabbagh duly doubled Palestine's lead on 26 minutes courtesy of a fine run and shot, before Mahmoud Yousef slid the ball under Nont to register a third from close range on the half hour mark after a fine Rashid pass.
Thailand were then dealt a further blow just two minutes later when Yousef Alashhab's cross from the left was drilled into the net by the onrushing Mohamed Darwish.
To their credit, Thailand responded well, and they duly reduced the deficit when captain Chenrop Samphaodi converted Tanasith Siripala's cross as the first half came to a close.
By way of contrast, chances were few and far between after the break, with Nont's comfortable save from a late Mohamed Elkayad free-kick the closest either side came to scoring again, before substitute Shehab Qumbor rounded off a perfect afternoon for Palestine with his side's fifth in the 88th minute.