DOHA: Qatar’s long-term strategy to produce a team worthy if playing host at the 2o22 World Cup finals suffered a setback when they lost 2-1 in extra time at home to Iraq in in the third place play-off at the Asian confederation’s under-23 championships.
The Qataris, featuring many players hoping to be on view in six years’ time, appeared headng for the last Asian Olympic slot in Rio de Janeiro in August when they led 1-0 only for Muhanad Abdulraheem to level for the Iraqis in the 86th minute.
Substitute Aymen Hussein then sealed victory with a header four minutes into the second period of extra time to send Iraq back to the Olympics for the first time since losing the bronze medal match to Italy at the Athens Games in 2004.
Iraq assistant coach Hayder Najem said: “This victory really is the fruit of the great work of the Olympic committee in Iraq since we started our preparation.”
Iraq will be accompanied from Asia at the Olympic tournament by Japan and South Korea.