Qatar and Saudi Arabia share points as Syria stun Japan : 2020 AFC U23 Championship

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Qatar and Saudi Arabia share points as Syria stun Japan, Qatar day, qatar day news, Qatar football news

Saudi Arabia drew 0-0 with Qatar while Syria stunned Japan 2-1 in the Group B matches of the AFC U23 Championship yesterday.

A breakaway goal two minutes from time by Syria’s Ala’a Aldin Dali condemned Japan to a 2-1 defeat at Thammasat Stadium that sees the 2016 champions exit the Championship with one game remaining.

Syria join Saudi Arabia at the top of the standings with four points from their first two games and the duo will fight it out for top spot on Wednesday, while Qatar will hope to pick up a win against the eliminated Japanese to keep their hopes alive of a place in the last eight.

On a warm and humid evening in the Thai capital, Saudi Arabia were boosted by the inclusion of striker Abdullah Al Hamdan who was named in his country’s starting 11 after recovering from an ankle injury picked up against Japan.

The game finally burst into life on 39 minutes when Abdulrahman Ghareeb’s ferocious drive from 18 yards was superbly blocked by defender Qatar Mohamed Ayash.

By way of contrast to what had gone before, the second half began brightly with first Saudi Arabia’s Khalid Dubaysh unleashing a shot that fizzed narrowly wide of the target and then Al Hamdan having a close-range header repelled by goalkeeper Mohammed Al Yami.

Saudi Arabia continued to press their opponents, and it was they who would spurn the encounter’s best opportunity, Abdulelah Alamri failing to beat Al Yami from a tight angle in the 67th minute.

Two minutes later, Abdullah Al Ahrak flashed a shot across the face of the Saudi goal, before Al Hamdan lifted an effort over the bar when well placed. With defences dominating, neither side was able to fashion a further opportunity, with Saudi Arabia finishing the match arguably the happier of the two come the full-time whistle.