AFC U23 Championship: Qatar denied by last-gasp Syria equaliser

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Qatar were denied an opening win at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship as Syria grabbed an injury-time equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw in Group B on Thursday.

It took the Qataris just a minute to break the deadlock at the Thammasat Stadium when their opponents gave away possession inside their own half.

Syria’s William Ghannam howler hands opener for Qatar

Qatar immediately worked the ball out to the right and Amro Surag’s fairly tame delivery was somehow fumbled by Syria goalkeeper William Ghannam, leaving Yusuf Abdurisag with a simple tap-in from a couple of yards out.

Qatar then doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute – this time from the other flank – but again Syria only had themselves to blame, as Yosief Mohammad’s attempt to intercept Homam Ahmed’s low cross resulted in him bundling the ball into the back of his own net.

Abdul Al Rahman hands Syria lifeline against Qatar

Syria did however pull one back a minute after the half-hour mark when Kamel Koaeh swung a dangerous freekick into the area, where it was met by Abd Al-Rahman Barakat with a glancing header into the far corner.

Just when it looked as though Qatar would hold out for the three points, a comedy of errors at the back saw them lose the ball just outside their own area, paving the way for Mohamad Al-Hallak to slide a low pass into the six-yard box to leave Alaa Aldin Dali with the easiest of finishes for a 94th-minute equaliser.

QATAR: Mohammed Al-Bakri, Tarek Salman, Ahmed Suhail, Mohammed Jadoua, Amro Surag, Abdullah Saei, Abdullah Al-Ahrak (Jassem Jaber 80’), Homam Ahmed, Hashim Ali (Hassan Palang 85’), Khalid Muneer (Abdelrahman Moustafa 72’), Yusuf Abdurisag.

SYRIA: William Ghannam, Yousef Al-Hamwi, Fares Al-Arnaout, Yosief Mohammad, Khaled Kurdaghli, Zakria Hannan, Simon Amin (Mohamad Al-Hallak 81’), Khalil Ibrahim (Abdelkader Shaban 50’), Kamel Koaeh, Abdulhadi Shalha (Alaa Aldin Dali 46’), Abd Al-Rahman Barakat.