Qatar kicks off U17 Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers campaign with win against Iraq 

Qatar is off to a winning start in the U-17 Asian Cup qualifiers after beating Iraq 2-1 in Muscat, Oman, on Sunday.

Within minutes of the game, Iraq upset the young Qatari defence when Ali Akbar Al Darraji scored in the second minute.

The forward shot a firm header into the net, giving Iraq the motivating lead.

In the 27th minute, an attempt to deflect the ball outside the box led Iraqi defender Kameran Ahmed Khudhair to score in his own net, giving the equaliser to the young Maroons.

Qatar profited off the tied game by leveling the match in the 39th minute, with Khalid Atiyaq Alshaaibi scoring a header of his own into the Iraqi net.

Not only did Alshaaibi score the match’s winning goal, but it would be the game’s highlight as the header was caught gracefully by his teammate’s pass.

Qatar U17 coach Ibrahim Al Shafei applauded his team’s victorious opener.

“I am proud of my players and the outstanding account they have given of themselves, providing us with many reasons to be optimistic going forward,” Al Shafei said at the post-match press conference.

Qatar U17 is placed in a challenging Group C of the Asian Cup qualifiers with Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, and hosts Oman in the fixture.

Al Shafei recognised the demanding upcoming schedule stating that the next three matches won’t be easy for the young Qataris.

“We have successfully completed the first phase; however, we still have three to go. This will be a highly contested qualifying group since all five teams belong to the same region and are somewhat similar to one another,” Al Shafei said.

Qatar will face Bahrain on Monday, who bested Lebanon 1-0 in the other match day 1 fixture.

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