Doha 24 July 2017. Qatar U-23 football team made-up almost entirely Aspire Academy graduates reached the AFC U-23 Asian Championship finals after drawing 1-1 with Syria in their last qualifier match played last night at Al Sadd
Aspire graduate, Sultan Al Barik scored for Qatar after 37 minutes with a beautifully taken free kick. Needing just a draw to top group C, Qatar went into the break with the lead. Syria equalized on 60th minute when Mohammed Rafat Muhtadi out jumped Qatari defence to head in for Syria
Qatar U-23 team will join fifteen (15) other nations in the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship to be held in China from 9-27 January 2018. It will be the second time that Qatar plays in the U-23 finals after finishing 4th in the 2016 edition which was hosted by Qatar. Japan the defending champions qualified as one of the best second placed teams. Two sides Palestine and Malaysia won their groups and will make their debut at the finals next year. Despite the draw on Sunday, Syria also qualified for the China finals. In their opening game, Qatar beat Turkmenistan 2-0 followed by a 1-0 win over India.
Qualifiers – Group Winners: Oman (Group A), Iraq (Group B), Qatar (Group C), Uzbekistan (Group D), Palestine (Group E), Australia (Group F), DPR Korea (Group G), Malaysia (Group H), Korea Republic (Group I).
Best Second-Placed Teams: Saudi Arabia (Group B), Syria (Group C), Jordan (Group E), Thailand (Group H), Vietnam (Group I), Japan (Group J).