Quintana snatches a point for Qatar

Uruguay-born Sebastian Quintana hits a stunning free kick to force a draw with Japan.

    Qatar forward Sebastian Quintana, centre, struck an
    unstoppable free-kick to snatch a draw [AFP]

    Japan and Qatar played out the third 1-1 draw in the first four matches of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup when a stunning Sebastian Quintana free-kick in the 88th minute cancelled out
    Naohiro Takahara's earlier second-half goal at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Monday.

    Quintana, a Uruguay-born naturalised Qatari, struck a fearsome shot from just outside the box after Japan midfielder Yuki Abe had fouled the striker in an awkward position with just two minutes remaining.

    The dead-ball shot was one of pure power, with the Japanese wall disintegrating leaving keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi with no chance.

    Japan had controlled most of the match with some fine passing and movement off the ball, and deservedly took the lead in the 61st minute through Takahara who latched on to a Yasuyuki Konno cross from the left.

    Konno's ball in was slightly behind Takahara, but the unmarked Eintracht Frankfurt striker managed to hook his left foot back to guide the ball into the net.

    Although Qatar snatched a late point after never really looking like scoring, things ended badly for the Gulf state when Australian referee Matthew Breeze gave a straight red card to playmaker Hussain Abdulrahman for a lunging studs-up tackle in stoppage time.

    To make matters worse, Breeze then sent Qatar coach Dzemaludin Musovic from the sideline after the Bosnian had let the referee know exactly what he thought of the decision.

    Japan had all the possession early in the match and when Qatar defender Meshal Budawood gave away a foul, Celtic star Shunsuke Nakamura whipped a free kick into the box but Qatar keeper Mohamed Saqr snuffed out any danger.

    Qatar found it hard to keep possession in the early stages as players from both sides flew in with some agricultural sliding tackles.

    Long-range shots

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    The 2006 Asian Games winners got their first chance in the 18th minute when Waleed Jassem was fouled and then took the free kick himself, hitting an excellent shot on target which Kawaguchi punched away after diving to his right.

    Japan then began to take control, but for all their possession they were unable to get into the Qatar penalty box and had to resort to long-range shots.

    Satoru Yamagishi put in a weak shot in the 38th minute which Saqr had covered with no trouble, before Kengo Nakamura again shot from long range two minutes later, with the same result for the Qatari keeper.

    Seconds before halftime Takahara was fouled by Wesam Abdulmajid five metres outside the box, with Yasuhito Endo slamming his free kick into the head of Qatar captain Saad Al Shammari to end a scoreless half.

    Second half chances

    In contrast to the first half, it was all Qatar in the early stages of the second period with substitute Majdi Siddiq getting involved early as he sent in some quality crosses from the right.

    Yamagishi had a chance to break the deadlock in the 57th minute, but after Takahara skillfully nodded the ball into his path, the JEF United midfielder snatched at his shot and put it well over the bar in front of an open goal.

    Later, a beautiful one-two between Takahara and Endo saw the Gamba Osaka midfielder running into the box, but Saqr got a hand to the stabbed shot to push the ball out for a corner, before Takahara himself opened the scoring with half an hour remaining.

    Qatar now play first-up winners and Group B leaders Vietnam on Thursday, while Japan take on the UAE on Friday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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