Gulf Today

Qatar clinch Gold Cup quarters spot with win over Honduras


Qatar sailed into the 2021 Gold Cup quarterfin­als with a 2-0 defeat of Honduras in their final Group D tie on Tuesday.

The win at the BBVA Stadium meant Felix Sanchez’s side finished top of Group D with seven points, one ahead of Honduras, with both sides advancing to the quarter-finals.

Reigning AFC Asian Cup champions Qatar will face El Salvador on Saturday while Honduras will play Mexico.

Honduras came into the tie on the back of consecutiv­e victories while Qatar - playing in the competitio­n on an invitation­al basis, started their campaign with a 3-3 draw against Panama before collecting a 4-0 win over Grenada.

Both teams jostled for early dominance with Qatar threatenin­g in the eighth minute with Khoukhi Boualem finding space inside the Honduras box but his shot was easily saved by goalkeeper Maynor Figueroa.

Qatar continued to show promise in their attacks but Bassam Al Rawi squandered a chance to break the deadlock in the 18th minute when he fired his effort wide off Akram Afif’s corner.

Qatar’s breakthrou­gh finally came in the 25th minute when Homam Ahmed surged into the box to finish Hassan Al Haydos’ pass from an acute angle.

Qatar should have doubled their lead five minutes before the break when Maynor Figueroa brought down Abdelkarim Hassan inside the penalty area. However, Figueroa pulled off a fine double save to first deny Afif from the spot and then Ahmed who looked to slot home the rebound.

Honduras continued to toil in front of goal ater the restart and failed to register any shots on target as Qatar doubled their lead in added time through Abdelaziz Hatim to secure their passage into the quarter-finals.

COSTA RICA PIP JAMAICA: Bryan Ruiz’s headed second-half goal was all Costa Rica would need to beat Jamaica 1-0 and claim first place in Group C at the Exploria Stadium in Florida.

Costa Rica, who survived a red card to their goalkeeper Leonel Moreira, needed only a draw to win their group but got the win anyway.

Ruiz scored in the 53rd minute ater taking a pass in the box from teammate Ariel Lassiter.

Moreira was sent off in the second half ater being called for a handball outside the penalty box, in the match which was delayed for over two hours due to bad weather in the Orlando area.

The loss of Moreira let Costa Rica with just 10 players on the field for the final 20 minutes of the match.

Elsewhere, Qatar shut out Honduras 2-0 to capture Group D and reach the quarter-finals.

Homam Ahmed and Abdelaziz Hatem both scored for Qatar, who will next face El Salvador in the quarter-finals. Ahmed struck to give Qatar the lead in the 25th minute of the match. It marked the third straight match in which the champions of Asia opened the scoring.

Hatem capped the scoring with his second of the tournament, five minutes into second-half stoppage time.

Honduras needed just a point to win the group but instead they will now face Group A winner Mexico in the next round.

Suriname beat Guadeloupe 2-1 to record their first ever victory in the Gold Cup event in a game in which both clubs were already eliminated from the knockout round.

 ?? Agence France-presse ?? Qatar’s Abdelaziz Hatim (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Honduras during their CONCACAF Gold Cup match in Houston on Tuesday.
Agence France-presse Qatar’s Abdelaziz Hatim (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Honduras during their CONCACAF Gold Cup match in Houston on Tuesday.

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