DOHA: Defending champions Qatar booked their place in the Asian Cup quarter-finals in Qatar with a 2-1 comeback win over Palestine at Al Bayt Stadium.

With the win, the host nation are set to return to Al Bayt Stadium to face the winners of the Uzbekistan and Thailand last 16 tie on Saturday, while Palestine’s journey ends after a historic first knockout stage appearance and six goals scored, having previously only ever netted one AFC Asian Cup goal in six matches across the 2015 and 2019 editions.

After a cagey start to the game, the first challenge for Meshal Barsham came in the 19th minute when Amid Mahajna tried his luck from 25 yards out, but the Qatari goalkeeper made a fine diving save.

Barsham was called into action again minutes later when Mahmoud Abu Warda moved into the free space down the left flank and met Zeid Qunbar’s lay-off with the outside of his left boot, but once more the Qatar keeper was able to make the save.

It was third time lucky for the Palestinians when Oday Dabbagh took matters into his own hands, embarking on a mazy solo run and making his way past two Qatari defenders before aiming for and finding the bottom corner of the goal to open the scoring with his third AFC Asian Cup goal eight minutes before the break.

Dabbagh’s strike was the first goal Qatar conceded in the tournament, and only the second in the AFC Asian Cup since 2015.

Seconds before the first half came to a close, Akram Afif and Hassan Al Haydos combined from the corner-kick just like they did for the winner against China PR. This time, Afif’s delivery was along the floor and Al Haydos made the run towards the penalty spot before hitting it first-time, his shot was deflected off Musab Al Battat and landed in the back of the Palestine net for the equaliser.

The hosts picked up right where they left off after the restart and their attacking momentum forced defender Mohammed Saleh into a mistake as he caught Almoez Ali inside the box with a sliding tackle. Afif stepped up and emphatically converted home his side’s second.

The playmaker’s goal and assist on the night took his tally to 17 goal contributions in the AFC Asian Cup, including 12 assists, three times as many as any other player in the tournament since 2011.

Afif came close to doubling his tally for the night late into the second half when he lined-up a free-kick from 20 yards out, curling it past the defensive wall, but his shot passed just over the crossbar.

Goalkeeper Rami Hamada made a confident save to deny Qatar a third goal through Abdulaziz Hatem’s strike from the edge of the box and at the other end, Islam Batran looked to find the net from distance but skied his effort for the game to end with a 2-1 win for the hosts.

Jordan through

Jordan showed amazing resilience to come from behind to defeat Iraq 3-2 in their Asian Cup Round of 16 tie at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Down 2-1 after having taken the lead, stoppage time goals from Yazan Al Arab and Nizar Al Rashdan pushed Jordan over the finishing line in a hugely exciting tie that had seen Iraq reduced to 10 players after having taken the lead, with Aymen Hussein sent off after netting their second goal.

Jordan will play Tajikistan in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Head coach Jesus Casas made nine changes to the Iraqi starting 11 that defeated Vietnam 3-2 on Matchday Three of the group stage, with 10 of the players who were in the team that featured in the 2-1 win over Japan, returning to the fold.

The 2007 AFC Asian Cup winners wasted little time in asserting their authority with Ahmed Al Hajjaj just failing to reach Ali Jasim’s corner in the second minute.

Jordan, however, began to find their footing and threatened in the 11th minute with Yazan Al Naimat’s ambitious long range effort sailing over the bar, while Iraq’s Youssef Amyn wasted another chance off a set-piece situation four minutes later.

The action was thick and fast with Iraq keeper Jalal Hassan forced to come outside his area in the 18th minute to foil Al Naimat’s attempt with Ali Olwan hitting wide on the follow up. The duo threatened again a minute later, forcing Hassan into a diving save.

Jordan looked dangerous when counter attacking and came close again just before the half-hour mark with Olwan cutting through the defence courtesy of a Ehsan Haddad through ball, only to be foiled by the agile Hassan.

Jordan put Iraq under pressure again in the 38th minute when Mousa Tamari weaved his way into the box past three defenders before being foiled by Hassan but their persistence finally paid off in the closing stages of the half.

Al Naimat pounced on a poor back pass by Ahmed Al Hajjaj before waltzing through the Iraq defence to finish with a sublime effort past a helpless Hassan.

Iraq were far from disheartened and took immediate control of the proceedings when the second half kicked off and almost found their way through in the 56th minute with Hussein Ali Haidar bringing out the best from Jordan custodian Yazeed Abulaila, who later blocked Ali Jasim’s effort from inside the box.

A lapse in concentration then gave Iraq the opportunity to draw level in the 68th minute when Suad Natiq rose highest to nod home Jassim’s corner.

A stunned Jordan then fell behind in the 76th minute when Hussein pounced on a poor clearance from inside the six-yard-box before drilling his effort into the bottom left corner of the net.

Iraq’s celebrations, however, were short lived as Hussein received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the aftermath of the goal,

With a one man advantage, Jordan refused to give up and drew level in the sixth minute of added time with Al Arab scoring off a rebound after Hassan saved Tamari’s initial effort.

They were, however, not done yet as Al Rashdan (pictured above) scored the winner a minute later with a beautiful effort from just outside the area as Jordan advanced to the quarter-finals and Iraq were left heartbroken.