Hassan Al Haydos’ exceptional goal secured a 1-0 victory for Qatar against China PR in their final Group A match of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 at Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.
The Qatari captain, entering the game as a substitute, unleashed a remarkable volley from 20 yards in the 66th minute, beating Yan Junling and extending the defending champions’ flawless start to the tournament, with their winning streak now at 10 matches.
China PR, aiming for a crucial win to advance to the last 16, failed to find the net once again after struggling in their previous matches against Tajikistan and Lebanon, putting their progression in doubt.
Qatar opted to begin the match with top scorer Akram Afif, Golden Boot winner Almoez Ali, and captain Hassan Al Haydos on the bench, implementing 10 changes from the team that secured a 1-0 victory over Tajikistan.
Qatar vs China: How the match went
On the other hand, China made adjustments by introducing Wei Shihao in the starting lineup, while Wu Lei, Wu Xi, and Lin Liangming were included, and Dai Wai-tsun and Xu Xin found themselves on the bench.
Despite an early header attempt by Boualem Khoukhi for Qatar, it was Aleksandar Jankovic’s Chinese side that created a significant chance in the seventh minute. Lin Liangming released Zhang Yuning, whose cutback found Wei, but his powerful strike went wide.
China PR continued their attacking efforts, with Zhang having an attempt blocked by Khoukhi. On the other end, despite numerous changes to their lineup, Qatar posed a threat, exemplified by Abdulaziz Hatem’s curling strike that narrowly cleared the bar.
Nine minutes before halftime, Wei came close to scoring when his close-range effort was superbly blocked by Saad Al Sheeb’s left-hand save. This opportunity arose after Wu’s scuffed shot landed at Wei’s feet. Khalid Muneer attempted a dipping shot that went over the crossbar, while in the final moments of the first half, Chinese strikers Zhang Yuning and Wei both directed headers off target.