Qatar edge Syria to keep WC dream alive

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Qatar sal­vaged some hope of reach­ing the 2018 World Cup fi­nals with a nar­row and des­per­ately needed vic­tory against Syria in a cru­cial Group A Asian qual­i­fier yes­ter­day.

The 1-0 vic­tory, se­cured by a first half Hasan Al-Hay­dos penalty, brought to an end a run of three con­sec­u­tive group de­feats. The three points also lifted the am­bi­tious Gulf na­tion off the bot­tom of the group above China and four points be­hind South Korea in the third-placed play-off po­si­tion af­ter four games.

They are six points be­hind sec­ond­placed Uzbek­istan, who oc­cupy one of the au­to­matic qual­i­fi­ca­tion po­si­tions, and it still re­mains likely that the first ever World Cup fi­nals game Qatar play will be when they host the com­pe­ti­tion in 2022.

The de­feat leaves Syria in fourth, one place above Qatar, on four points. Yes­ter­day’s vic­tory was hard-fought yet de­served and it was fit­ting that the only goal was scored by Al-Hay­dos, in the 37th minute, who proved a con­stant threat to Syria’s de­fence. In­deed it was his jink­ing run which forced the penalty.

The play­maker turned past one de­fender be­fore be­ing tripped by Moua­iad AlMi­dani. He slot­ted home the penalty him­self.

France Swe­den Nether­lands Bul­garia Be­larus Lux­em­bourg

Switzer­land Por­tu­gal Hun­gary Faroes Latvia An­dorra

Ser­bia Ire­land Wales Aus­tria Ge­or­gia Moldova

Mon­tene­gro Ro­ma­nia Poland Den­mark

3 3 3 3 3 3

3 3 3 3 3 3

Ger­many 2 Azer­bai­jan 2 North­ern Ire­land2 Czech Repub­lic 2 Nor­way 2 San Marino 2

3 3 3 3 3 3

2 2 2 2

2 2 1 1 0 0

3 2 1 1 1 0

2 2 1 0 0 0

2 2 1 1 0 0

1 1 1 1

1 1 1 0 2 1

0 0 1 1 0 0

0 0 1 1 0 0

1 1 2 1 1 0

1 1 1 0

0 0 1 2 1 2

0 1 1 1 2 3

0 0 0 1 2 2

0 0 0 1 2 3

0 0 0 1

5 5 5 5 2 4

7 12 4 2 1 1

6 2 4 0 0 0

8 6 7 6 2 1

6 6 5 3

1 1 3 10 5 6

3 2 3 6 4 9

0 0 0 3 4 5

4 3 3 6 4 10

1 1 4 3

7 7 4 3 2 1

9 6 4 4 3 0

6 6 4 1 0 0

7 7 5 4 1 0

4 4 4 3 Qatar should have dou­bled the lead seven min­utes later when Se­bas­tian So­ria was clean through but his weak shot was cleared by a cov­er­ing de­fender.

So­ria had an­other chance in the 50th minute when again he was put clean through, this time by Qatar’s La Liga-play­ing teenage star Akram Afif, but again the Uruguayan-born star fluffed his chance.

Then Al-Hay­dos had two chances in three min­utes.

He forced a fine save from goal­keeper Ibrahim Alma in the 69th minute be­fore hav­ing a shot blocked in the 72nd minute. Qatar, who have a habit of let­ting in late goals in qual­i­fiers, were made to sweat for their vic­tory.

Jorge Fos­sati’s team anx­iously saw out the fi­nal 10 min­utes when Syria, roared on by a vo­cal num­ber of fans in the 9,940 crowd, went close to scor­ing twice.

In the 80th minute Mah­moud Al­mawas fired nar­rowly wide be­fore Qatar goal­keeper Saad Al-Sheeb made a spec­tac­u­lar save from a long-range free kick. Qatar hung on and will have a chance to build on this vic­tory when they travel to China for their next qual­i­fier in No­vem­ber. Syria play group lead­ers Iran in their next game. — AFP

World Cup qual­i­fy­ing ta­bles - Euro­pean zone

PARIS: 2018 World Cup qual­i­fy­ing Euro­pean zone ta­bles af­ter Mon­day’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Kaza­khstan Ar­me­nia

Eng­land Scot­land Slove­nia Lithua­nia Slo­vakia Malta

Spain Italy Al­ba­nia Is­rael Mace­do­nia Liecht­en­stein

2 2

2 2 2 2 2 2

3 3 3 3 3 3

Bel­gium 3 Greece 3 Bos­nia-Herze­gov­ina Es­to­nia 3 Cyprus 3 Gi­bral­tar 3

0 0

2 1 1 0 0 0

2 2 2 2 0 0

3 3 3 1 0 0

1 0

0 1 1 2 0 0

1 1 0 0 0 0

0 0 2 0 0 0

1 2

0 0 0 0 2 2

0 0 1 1 3 3

0 0 0 2 3 3

2 0

3 6 3 3 0 1

11 7 4 5 4 1

13 8 1 4 0 1

7 6

0 2 2 3 2 7

1 4 3 5 7 12

0 1 7 7 7 14

1 0

6 4 4 2 0 0

7 7 6 6 0 0

9 9 46 3 0 0

Croa­tia 3 2 1 0 8 1 7 Ice­land 3 2 1 0 6 3 7 Ukraine 3 1 2 0 6 3 5 Tur­key 3 0 2 1 3 5 2 Fin­land 3 0 1 2 3 5 1 Kosovo 3 0 1 2 1 10 1 Note: Nine group win­ners in Europe qual­ify for the 2018 fi­nals in Rus­sia; eight best run­ners-up play­off with four win­ners qual­i­fy­ing for the fi­nals.

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