Al­moez stars in Qatar’s thrilling win over Ecuador

Al­moez fires a brace, while Afif, al-Hay­dous score in 4-3 win

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By Sports Re­porter

Qatar edged past Ecuador 4-3 in an en­ter­tain­ing in­ter­na­tional friendly at the Jas­sim Bin Ha­mad Sta­dium yes­ter­day.

Felix Sanchez’s men were rewarded for play­ing an ag­gres­sive game as they dealt with Ecuador’s phys­i­cally strong play­ers.

In the end it be­came an open­ing game, as both teams went all out on at­tack which thrilled the ca­pac­ity crowd. For Qatar, Al­moez Ali bagged a dou­ble, af­ter Akram Afif had given the lead. Cap­tain Has­san al-Hay­dos also found the net af­ter con­vert­ing a penalty.

Ecuador’s cap­tain En­ner Va­len­cia had a dra­matic game. The West Ham striker pulled two goals back for his side af­ter he scored in the 66th and 71st minute, but was shown the red card in the dying min­utes. Jose Ce­val­los also found the net in the 89th minute to make it an in­ter­est­ing few min­utes but Qatar held on for the first win against the South Amer­i­cans, who are ranked 58 to Qatar’s 94. Now, Qatar will travel to Tashkent to take on Uzbek­istan in an­other friendly on Tues­day.

Yes­ter­day, Qatar showed their at­tack­ing qual­ity as Afif, Al­moez and al-Hay­dous proved a con­stant threat to the op­po­si­tion.

The hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute af­ter a foul by Ecuador left-back Diego Pala­cios out­side right flank gave them a free kick. Al-Hay­dous slammed the ball into the box, which de­flected and found Afif, whose right footed shot perched to the cen­tre of the goal.

Qatar’s sec­ond goal ar­rived just three min­utes later, when Boualem Khoukhi found Al­moez, who took a cou­ple of touches and un­leashed a long-ranger that beat Ecuador goal­keeper Alexan­der Cara­bali.

In the sec­ond half, Ecuador made a dou­ble sub­sti­tu­tion as Anebal Chala re­placed Diego Pala­cios, while An­gelo Pre­ci­ado came in for Stiven Plaza. But it was Qatar who found the net again af­ter Afif was fouled by Chala. Al-Hay­dous stepped in to take the penalty and eas­ily slot­ted it past past Cara­bali to make it 3-0.

But Ecuador bounced back through their cap­tain Va­len­cia, who scored a stun­ning goal in the 67th minute. But Qatar re­stored their three-goal ad­van­tage as Al­moez was quick to pounce on a de­fen­sive lapse and scored his sec­ond goal of the night.

Ecuador, how­ever, al­lowed back into the game as Qatar play­ers went on a snooze. Qatar goal­keeper Youssef Has­san took a long time to clear the ball and Va­len­cia seized the op­por­tu­nity to pounce on the ball and shoot it on to empty net. In the 89th minute, Ecuador made it 2-4 af­ter Ce­val­los tapped in from close range af­ter an as­sist by Robert Ar­boleda.

But the vis­i­tors ran out of time in pur­suit of an equaliser even as ref­eree waved off the ap­peals for a penalty af­ter a hand­ball on Qatar de­fender Bassam Hisham.

This is Qatar’s third con­sec­u­tive win af­ter they had beaten China and Mal­dives last month. They now travel to Tashkent as they con­tinue their prepa­ra­tion for pres­ti­gious Asian Cup in Jan­uary next year. Qatar are also sched­uled to meet Switzer­land and Ice­land in friendlies in Novem­ber.

PIC­TURES: Jayan Orma

Qatar play­ers cel­e­brate a goal dur­ing the in­ter­na­tional friendly against Ecuador yes­ter­day.

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