Hosts Qatar and Uzbekistan through to quarter-finals

Hosts Qatar and Uzbekistan through to quarter-finals

Hosts Qatar on Sunday made sure of their place in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup with a 3-0 victory against Kuwait, dpa reported.

They were joined in the round of the last eight by Uzbekistan, who topped Group B after playing to a 2-2 draw against China.

Qatar, for whom captain Bilal Mohammed and Mohamed El Sayed scored in the space of five minutes early in the first half, before Fabio Cesar added a third late in the game, finish a point behind Uzbekistan on six points, while China has four.

Kuwait is without a point after losing their three matches.

Qatar coach Bruno Metsu said that they were now looking for even more. "We are very satisfied and happy with this qualification, but for us the Asian Cup starts now.

"It transfers from a mere accumulation of points to aiming for the trophy. We have accomplished our task but our ambitions extend beyond that and it will be a great thing for all fans and players.

"Why not? We will strive to get the trophy and it is out right to dream."

Defender Lawrence said that the players went into the game fully motivated. "We had no choice, even if we had to rely on the other results, we knew we had to do it ourselves.

"So we went in with full determination and luckily we had a good start, we had two goals in the first half, which gave us the edge over them."

He said it made no difference whom they faced in the quarter- finals. "We are just waiting for any team, we have no choice. We have to keep winning. We can't be certain that we will win, but we just have to give our best."

Qatar had an ideal start in the Khalifa Stadium in Doha, scoring twice in the space of five minutes early on, with captain Mohamed opening the score in the 11th minute from a Sebastian Suria cross.

Suria played a part in his side's second attempt just five minutes later when a long ball into the area found El Sayed in space, but his header was well saved by goalkeeper Nawaf Al Khaldi, who was unlucky to see the ball come to Suria, whose shot was blocked.

El Sayed then picked up the ball and with the goalkeeper stranded in no-man's land, the forward found the back of the net with a well- taken shot.

In the second half, Qatar seemed content to ride out the result, knowing that Kuwait lacked the strength upfront to come back into the match.

Much to the delight of the 28,300-strong crowd the hosts grabbed a late third goal when Fabio Cesar scored with a free-kick from the edge of the area after Suria had been fouled.

In the other game, which was played at the same time in the Al-Gharafa stadium, China had the better start and went ahead after just six minutes from a corner.

Captain Server Djeparov set up Odil Akhmedov for the equalizer on the half-hour. The Uzbeks, who went into the game on the back of two victories in their first two games, scored a minute after the re-start when Alexander Geynrikh beat goalkeeper Yang Zhi.

The Chinese drew level after Anzur Ismailov fouled Yang Hao and Hao Junmin scored from the resultant free-kick in the 56th minute.

Even though China, who, in the case of a Qatari victory, needed themselves to get three points to stand a chance to go through, pushed forward in search of a winning goal, there was to be no happy end for them and they also had coach Gao Hongbo sent off late in the game for remonstrating with the referee.

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