DOHA - Two first-half goals from striker
Yusef Ahmed gave Qatar a 2-0 win over China as the host nation
finally joined their own Asian Cup party on Wednesday and began
dreaming of a place in the quarter-finals.
Qatar took the lead after 27 minutes of their second Group A
game when Ahmed scored the goal of the tournament at the Khalifa
Collecting a lofted forward pass on his thigh, he smashed an
unstoppable, swerving volley into the roof of goalkeeper Zeng
Cheng's net from the edge of the penalty area to send the crowd
Ahmed made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when China's
imposing captain Du Wei allowed him too much time to turn, shoot
and, to his horror, score with a low hooked shot from almost the
same place as his first goal.
The victory moved Qatar level with China on three points.
Uzbekistan lead with six and Kuwait are bottom with no points.
Qatar's French coach Bruno Metsu was a relieved man after
his team redeemed themselves after the abject performance in the
opening match of the tournament when they lost 2-0 to
"We wanted to show the real face of our team tonight and
that's what the players did," Metsu told reporters. "I am very
proud of their performance and we will try and do the same
against Kuwait to qualify for the next stage.
"I think we sent a good message to the fans and I think they
were very satisfied tonight."
China coach Gao Hongbo, who made three changes from the side
that beat Kuwait 2-0 in their first match, took heart from their
display and did not blame goalkeeper Cheng for either goal.
"I said to him at half-time, even if we had (Italian
goalkeeper) Gianluigi Buffon in goal he couldn't have stopped
the two goals. I am happy with his performance," said the
The mood could hardly have been more different than the
almost funereal atmosphere during Friday's defeat by Uzbekistan
when the crowd left in droves long before the end.
Metsu, under intense pressure to avoid a second straight
defeat and keep his job, had promised the supporters a better
performance and his men did just that, responding with a
confident and passionate display.
They could have been two goals up before going ahead.
Sebastian Suria wasted an easy chance after 11 minutes and Ahmed
hit the side netting before he found the net with his superb
Suria, working tirelessly and forming a good partnership
with Ahmed, was unlucky not to do better with two more
opportunities, the second after 65 minutes flying wide after an
ambitious shot on the run.
China created few real chances and their night was best
summed up when Rong Hao fired a free-kick hopelessly high and
wide from more than 30 metres just before the end.
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