AFC U-23 Championship: Uzbekistan and Qatar advance

Qatar and Uzbekistan both secured their places in the quarter-finals of the AFC U-23 Championship following victories on Monday.

China U23 1-2 Qatar U23

Almoez Ali scored on either side of half-time as Qatar secured a huge 2-1 upset win over China to top Group A and knock the host nation out of the competition.

The home side started the stronger of the two teams, and found themselves ahead after just four minutes when Deng Hangwen shrugged off a defender and passed the ball to Yao Junsheng, who fired home from close range.

But Qatar responded admirably to that setback, setting up several chances of their own as they played their way back into the match as the first half progressed.

Shortly before half-time, disaster struck for China when their captain He Chao received his marching orders for a second yellow card.

It didn’t take Qatar long to make their numerical advantage count, and in the dying moments of the opening stanza, midfielder Akram Afif produced a sublime cross that was headed in by Almoez for his first goal of the night.

China still had an entire second half to try and hang on with 10 men against a determined Qatar outfit, and after a dominant performance the visitors finally got the goal they so desperately wanted in the 77th minute.

Tameem Al Muhaza produced a delightful pass to find Almoez, who clipped the ball over the China goalkeeper and into the net to secure the 2-1 victory and book Qatar’s place in the last eight of the competition.

Uzbekistan U23 1-0 Oman U23

In the day’s other match, Uzbekistan secured second place in Group A and earned their quarter-final spot with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Oman.

An own goal from Thani Al Rushaidi ultimately proved the only difference between the two teams on the night.

After a probing opening 30 minutes that saw chances for both teams, a failed clearance in the box from Oman saw Al Rushaidi put the ball in his own net.

After the restart, Uzbekistan opted for a slower and more controlled approach that allowed them to see out the rest of the game without much incident and hang on to collect all three points.