QATAR TOPS THE GROUP AFTER 2nd STRAIGHT WIN AT AFC U-23 CHAMPIONSHIP
13 Jan 2018, General
Changzhou, 13 January 2018. Aspire Academy graduate, Akram Afif scored the only goal just before half time as Qatar U-23 team picked up their second win from as many matches in in Group A of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under 23 Championship played at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center in China on Friday, 12th January evening. The win took Qatar to the summit of the Group with six (6) points with one more group game still to play. First and second placed teams from each of the four groups proceed to the quarter finals.
The Qatar U-23 team is made up almost entirely of Aspire Academy graduates of which ten (10) of the players were part of U-19 team that won the 2014 AFC Championship in Myanmar. In the first group match against Uzbekistan on the opening day – 9th January, the Aspire graduate Hashim Ali set up fellow graduate Almoez Ali for the goal that won the match and on Friday evening it was Almoez Ali’s turn to assist. Ali’s exquisite pass played into onrushing Akram Afif who then finished calmly from an acute angle.
Qatar will complete the group stage phase with a match against the hosts China on Monday 15th January while Uzbekistan plays Oman at the same time. Speaking after the match against the two coaches had the following to say:
Felix Sanchez: Qatar head coach “I think both teams made a good effort today. It was great that we were able to get the three points. Oman pushed hard and made it difficult for us to control the ball at times, but we had our chances to score on the counter-attack. I am proud of my players as they have played against two strong teams in Uzbekistan and Oman so far and have performed well.”
Hamad Al Azani: Oman head coach “I am disappointed by the result. A lot of my players are young, and they have a (bright) future, we have to support them. I think we did well to restrict Qatar’s goal scoring chances and had opportunities of our own in the first half and then in the second half when we changed our formation and played with two strikers.”