Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi vies for the ball with Palestine’s Raed Fares during the group stage match of 8th WAFF Championships at Al Sadd Stadium yesterday.Pictures by: Shaival Dalal
Doha: Qatar began their campaign in the 8th WAFF Football Championship on a winning note by defeating Palestine 1-0 at Al Sadd Stadium here yesterday.
The hosts scored the match winner in the last minute through substitute Muayed Hassan.
Hassan scored the solitary goal in the 90th minute when he struck a powerful angular right-footer to give the hosts full points in the Group ‘A’ match.
Qatar coach Djamel Belmadi was far from happy from his team’s performance.
“We could not utilise the chances we got. If we had put to good use the chances we got then we could’ve scored with a big margin,” said the former Lekhwiya coach.
“Of course like all the teams we also want to win the tournament, but we are taking it game by game. I have my concentration on my next match against Saudi Arabia,” the Algerian said about his teams chances in the tournament.
His counterpart, Jamal Mahmoud felt that they were unlucky to concede a goal in the last minute after keeping the pressure on the home team.
“It’s unfortunate that we lost. We produced good performance but it was not good enough to beat Qatar,” said Mahmoud.
On the semi-final chances he said: “We still have one group match but our fate is not in out hand now. We have to play against Saudi and we also have to wait and watch for Qatar and Saudi Arabi’s match and the results of the other groups’ matches.
Playing before the home crowd and aiming to win the WAFF championship for the first time Qatar were locked in a goalless first-half in which the local boys dominanted.
The young Qatar side played with some intent as Adil Ahmed, operating from wide left, tried to make inroads while captain Khalid Muftah, in the midfield, worked tirelessly helping in build ups and acting as a snatcher also.
In the second half too Qatar tried but had to wait till the last minute for the decisive goal.
In the second match of the day Oman, who finished third in the last edition of the tournament, played a goalless draw with Bahrain, the fourth placed team of the last edition.
The deadlock could have been broken in the 93rd minute of the game, but Bahrain’s Ashraf failed to convert a header pass from Khader.
Qatar, who finished fourth in 2008 is aiming for the maiden title win in the championship, will meet Saudi Arabia, who failed to qualified for the knock-out stage last time. The Peninsula