Vienna: Goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham saved a late penalty as Qatar fought back from a goal down to hold Chile 2-2 in their international friendly at the Franz Horr Stadium in Vienna on Tuesday.
It was a far from convincing performance from the Asian Champions as Qatar most likely played their last competitive match before their World Cup debut at home in November. They, however, showed nerves of steel as they managed to hold Chile after a drab show in the first half.
Having trailed at half-time, the Maroons fought back to lead 2-1, only to be denied victory by a late Chile equaliser. Felix Sanchez’s men went into the tie determined to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Canada. Chile, however, were difficult to breach and showed their intent with Alexis Sanchez giving them the lead in the 37th minute after Akram Afif lost the ball with sloppy passing.
Qatar came out for the second half with renewed purpose but had to wait till the 59th minute for the equaliser, with Afif drawing them level by finishing Almoez Ali’s assist. Boosted by the equaliser, Qatar upped their tempo and Hassan al-Haydos put them ahead in the 67th minute with a screamer from just outside the box.
Chile, however, forced their way back into the tie and were rewarded for their efforts with Arturo Vidal drawing them level in the 78th minute. Chile could have won it in the closing stages after receiving a penalty for a foul on Ben Brereton.
But Barsham guessed it right and dived to his right to block Sanchez’s spot kick as Chile remained winless since the end of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with La Roja failing to make it to Qatar.
Qatar, meanwhile, who were camping in Europe for the last four months, will return home today for a brief period. The players will be given three days’ rest before they will hold an open training session in front of fans and media for five days at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Sunday. Qatar then will return to isolation in Spain for more training as Sanchez looks to finalise his 26-member squad for the World Cup.
Having spent tens of billions of dollars preparing for the first World Cup in an Arab nation, Qatar is desperate to see the national side get past the first round where they are grouped with Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee