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Qatar’s Sebastian Soria celebrates after scoring a goal against Lebanon during their 2014 FIFA World Cup, Asian Zone, qualifying match in Doha yesterday. Soria scored the goal in the 75th minute of the Group A clash at Al Sadd Stadium.
BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Striker Sebastian Soria yesterday produced a spectacular goal as hosts Qatar edged past Lebanon 1-0 in a key 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Al Sadd Stadium.
After 75 minutes of exhaustive football, forward Soria curled an amazing shot some 35 meters from the goal-line to give Qatar three points from the Group A clash.
Yesterday’s win keeps Qatar’s dream of reaching Brazil alive.
It was a repeat of what happened in the first encounter between the two teams earlier this year (on June 3) when Soria scored the only goal of the match played in Lebanon. Qatar, coached by Paulo Autuori, now have 7 points from five matches.
In another Group A clash yesterday, Uzbekistan beat hosts Iran 1-0, thanks to a goal by Ulugbek Bakaev (71).
Uzbekistan now lead Group A with 8 points whereas South Korea, Iran and Qatar have 7 points each.
Visiting Lebanon side, coached by Theo Bucker, have 4 points from five matches.
Midfielder Fabio Cesar broke free of his marker in the first minute of the match but a couple of Lebanon defenders thwarted the move with sliding tackles.
In the 12th minute, striker Hassan Al Haydos weaved his way past three players into the Lebanon box but his shot was blocked with a sliding tackle by one of the defenders. Six minutes later, Lebanon produced their first major attack through Abbas Ahmad Atwi who went long-range on a powerful shot that was pouched by goalkeeper Qasim Burhan.
Ten minutes from the first-half whistle, Lebanon skipper Reda Antar showed the desperation of his side with a long-range shot that flew above the Qatar crossbar, much to the agony of the Lebanese fans.
A couple of minutes later, Ahmad Zreik clipped a shot at Burhan from close range but the visitors were denied by the home team goalkeeper once again.
The match lacked the spark seen in the first encounter between the two sides as Qatar failed to make inroads in the Group A clash. Qatar striker Soria particularly looked out of touch failing to convert from inside the box on a few occasions.
With six minutes to go, captain Wisam Rizq found the forward inside the box but Soria slipped twice before losing the ball from scoring range.
In the 56th minute, Lebanon’s Atwi jumped high to deflect a free-kick but the ball flew over the crossbar much to the relief of the home fans.
At the one-hour mark, neither teams dominated the game though the home side clearly wasted chances that came their way. In the 63rd minute, Lebanon’s Mahmoud El Ali broke free of his marker Ibrahim Abdulmajed and clipped a shot towards the Qatar net near the touchline but tall goalkeeper Burhan collected the ball using his long reach.
Four minutes later, Burhan repeated the drill by pouching a high corner kick to keep the visitors at bay at Al Sadd Stadium.
With 15 minutes remaining on the ticker, Soria produced a long-range shot that left Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas Hassan rooted to his spot as the ball curled into the net.
Soria celebrated his goal with the fans and then his team-mates.
Substitute Lawrence Quaye curled in a free-kick in the 82nd minute but the ball was punched away with difficulty but successfully by goalkeeper Hassan. In the 85th minute, Quaye went for another bullet and once again Hassan denied the Qatari with a timely save. In injury time, Lebanon skipper Antar curled one towards the Qatari goal but ‘keeper Burhan matched the effort with a full-stretched dive to put the ball away.
Qatar’s next qualifying match is against South Korea on March 26, 2013. THE PENINSULA