Muntari strikes as Qatar beat Luxembourg 1-0 at European qualifiers

  • 3 weeks   ago
Muntari strikes as Qatar beat Luxembourg 1-0 at European qualifiers

Qatar striker Mohammed Muntari's first-half goal helped the 2022 World Cup hosts beat 10-man Luxembourg 1-0 in an international friendly at the Nagyerdei Stadium in Hungary on Wednesday.

Felix Sanchez's side went ahead in the 12th minute through Muntari's side-footed shot. Luxembourg's Aldin Skenderovic was dismissed following a second yellow card in the 87th minute.

Qatar, who have qualified automatically for the World Cup and must rely on friendly games to prepare for the tournament, have been included as a guest team in European World Cup qualifying Group A.

The move mirrors the approach taken by France for the 2016 European Championship that they hosted. Qatar's matches will not count towards the qualification process and will be categorised as friendly internationals.

They will play against whichever team has a free date on a given matchday in Group A - which includes Portugal, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg and Ireland.

 

The Qatar national football team launched their European campaign with a 1-0 win over Luxembourg at the Nagyerdei Stadium in Debrecen, Hungary on Wednesday. Mohammed Muntari scored the lone goal of the game in the 12th minute. Luxembourg ended the game with ten men following Aldin Skenderovic’s dismissal for a second booking.

The match was Qatar’s first in Group A of the European qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, after being invited to participate as a guest team by UEFA. The results of matches involving Qatar will not be counted for the final standings.

Almoez Ali’s movement was crucial in breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute of the game. The 2019 Asian Cup MVP pounced on an error from Luxembourg centre-back Lars Krogh Gerson, before setting up Muntari for his goal with a squared ball from the right. The provider had a chance to become goalscorer moments later, but his shot was miraculously blocked on the line by Luxembourg keeper Anthony Moris with a point-blank save.

Luxembourg enjoyed more of the possession throughout the game and managed to create some dangerous chances but were thwarted, once by the woodwork, and on multiple occasions by Qatar’s custodian Saad Al Sheeb.

The Maroons’ right-back Pedro had a great game going forwards on the flank, creating trouble for the Luxembourg defence and also taking two shots on goal, both of which came off the crossbar. The Al-Sadd man then drew a foul from substitute Skenderovic in the 87th minute, which earned the latter a second yellow card and a walk back to the tunnel after playing for less than half an hour.

Qatar held on for the 1-0 victory, satisfying coach Felix Sanchez, who praised his team’s effort in the post-match press conference.

“I think the the players adapted quite well to the rhythm of the game, which was much faster than they are used to in our local league,” he said. “The players made a huge effort and we competed well against a team that showed good offensive potential. We did well, created chances and were able to keep the lead until the end.”

“It was a very good way to start a competition like this with a win. The players are very happy because it’s not easy to get these kinds of results. We are proud and of course, this gives us extra motivation for the next games, which we know will be tough.”

Qatar play Azerbaijan next on the 27th of March, before facing Republic of Ireland on the 30th.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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