By Sports Reporter/Doha
Abdulrahman Mohamed Saad scored 23 points and Babacar Dieng chipped in with 16 as Qatar edged past Syria 79-72 in their Asian Cup qualifier yesterday.
Qatar, who are hosting Group E of the qualifiers, were bottom of the table having lost their previous two matches, but yesterday’s success helped them revive their campaign for the continental championship next year.
Fortunes fluctuated rapidly at the Al Gharafa Sports Club yesterday with Qatar narrowly claiming the honours after the first quarter (20-18).
But Syria, aided by the brilliant George Earl Kell, fought back gallantly to ensure they stayed ahead for most of the time after that.
The Syrians were 37-33 ahead after the second quarter and led 58-52 after the third but the Qataris were not done with as they inched their way up and began to take charge.
And sure enough they turned the tide with a 27-point effort in the final 10 minutes, while restricting the visitors to just 14.
Qatar took the lead in the final quarter for the first time with three minutes and nine seconds on the clock when Nedim Muslic made two successful free throws to put the hosts ahead 70-68.
From then on Qatar never lost their advantage and sealed the match when Sadd converted two free throws with just five seconds remaining.
Mustafa Fouda and Abdelrehman Yehia had 10 points each for Qatar, while Syria’s Kell top-scored in the match with 35 points to bag individual honours.
Qatar will take on Iran tomorrow.
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