DOHA: Qatar and Oman are set for a showdown that will decide the winners of AFC U23 Championship qualifying Group A after both sides won their respective matches here on Sunday.
The hosts continued their trouble-free start to their campaign, producing a commanding second half performance to overpower Nepal 5-0.
While Qatar delivered an impressive team performance, the match will be best remembered for the two sensational second-half goals scored by Bassam Al Rawi, who added to his rapidly-growing reputation with a superb individual performance.
Qatar spent almost all of the first half on the front foot, but their attacking forays often came unstuck on the final pass, and they only managed two shots at goal in the opening 45 minutes, with Nepal unable to test their aim at all.
Despite the lack of goalmouth action, the hosts did go to the break with a 1-0 lead after Abdullah Al Ahrak sent a penalty into the top corner in the 25th minute.
Captain Al Rawi provided a moment of outstanding quality in the 54th minute, letting fly with an extraordinary 35-yard half volley which sailed beyond Nepali goalkeeper Arpan Karki and into the back of the net.
An unfortunate Dinesh Rajbanshi own goal extended the lead further, before the brilliant Al Rawi produced another stunner in the 80th minute, this time sending a wonderful 30-yard free-kick into the top corner.
In a moment Karki would prefer to forget, Al Ahrak added the final coat of gloss, scoring on the bounce with a speculative long-range effort in the dying minutes, as Qatar sealed a thumping win.
Superior goal difference means Albert Caballeria’s side will need only a draw against Oman to secure direct qualification on Tuesday while Nepal will play against Afghanistan.
In an earlier match, Oman scored a narrow 2-1 victory over Afghanistan.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee