Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Battling India suffers late Qatar heartbreak

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Battling India suffers late Qatar heartbreak

Players from Qatar (in red) fight for the ball during their Group D game against India. Qatar won 2-1.

GUANGZHOU - On a day of surprising results, defending Asian Games champion Qatar narrowly managed to avoid being victimized again.

Ali Jaralla scored twice in the final 10 minutes as Qatar rallied to beat India 2-1 in Group D play at Huadu Stadium in Guangzhou on Tuesday. India had taken a 19th-minute lead through Ravanan Dharmaraj.

"I think we are far better than India. We created 40 to 50 percent more chances to score," Qatar coach Co Adriaanse said. "We wanted to win this game because we wanted to be the No 1 in the group."

The 2006 Doha Asian Games gold medalist came into the match under pressure after a frustrating 0-0 draw with Singapore on Sunday, although Adriaanse insisted there was no extra strain on his squad.

"If you see the history of football, a lot of teams who organize the games, they are in final because they are at home," he said. "But we're playing far away in China, so there's no pressure on us."

Singapore fell 2-0 to Kuwait in Tuesday's other Group D match. Ali Maqseed and Mashari Al-Azmi scored for the victor.

Hong Kong put itself in prime position to advance from Group E, stunning Uzbekistan 1-0 through a 60th-minute goal by Chan Wai Ho. It is level on four points with group leader the United Arab Emirates, which beat Bangladesh 3-0.

Thailand and Oman, which opened Group F with decisive victories, remained favorites to advance after their 1-1 draw at Guangdong People's Stadium. Amer Al-Shatri scored an own-goal in the 44th minute to give the Thais the lead, only for Moatasim Al-Mukhaini to equalize in first-half stoppage time.

"I'm OK with the result, although we had one more player than the opponent in the field. My players did very well in defense in the first half," Thailand coach Bryan Robson said, referring to the sending off of Oman captain Mohammed Al-Jaber in the 21th minute.

Thailand tops the group with its superior goal difference, having thrashed Pakistan 6-0 on Sunday. Oman opened with a 3-0 defeat of Maldives, which drew 0-0 with Pakistan in Tuesday's other group match.

(China Daily)

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