Abdulrasheed Umaru’s goal seven minutes from time helped Qatar keep pace with Group C leaders Japan as they beat Yemen 1-0 in their AFC U-19 Championship Bahrain 2016 encounter last night.
The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw but substitute Umaru took his chance late in the game to snatch all three points on offer for his team at Bahrain National Stadium.
The result means Qatar join Japan at the top of Group C on four points, with Iran on two and Yemen eliminated with no points from two games.
Yemen were roared on by a large and vocal group of fans, but it was Qatar who fashioned the first chance of the game shortly after kickoff.
Moufak Ahmed showed good speed as he raced on to a long ball down the right, whipping in a delicious cross that found Hassan Ahmad in all kinds of space right in front of goal but the striker could not keep his header down.
Neither side’s players seemed to have their shooting boots on as various chances were spurned following the early opportunity.
Yemen were looking a different team to the one that had gone down 3-0 to Japan previously, but could not make much headway in the final third despite several attacking forays.
Aki Hafeedh had their best chance of the first half, as Rami al-Wasmani’s pass found him on the right side of the box but the Yemeni midfielder’s swerving shot was straight down the goalkeeper’s throat and Mohamed al-Bakari saved easily.
The Qatari goalkeeper was called into action once again early in the second half, as he denied Ahmed al-Sarori a goal after the Yemen forward’s burst of speed had taken him past his marker and into the box.
An outswinging corner from Qatar captain Abdullah Abdulsalam in the 59th minute caused all sorts of trouble as Adel al-Hamad connected to a Tarek Salman knockdown with a diving header but Yemen had their man at the near post, Esam Mahdi, to thank as he cleared the ball off the line.
Just as it seemed Yemen had done enough to secure a point and keep their slim hopes of qualifying alive, Ahmad found Umaru with a slide rule pass in the box and the replacement striker made no mistake when through on goal.
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