Debrecen-Serbia struck twice in the first 20 minutes and even as Qatar tried hard to reduce the deficit, knocked in two more goals in the second session to emerge 4-0 winners in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 European qualifiers on Wednesday.
It was not the start Qatar were expecting at the Nagyerdei Stadion in Debrecen in Hungary. They will now look to make amends in their next big encounter, against Portugal, on Saturday.
A defensive blunder in the third minute and an aggressive Serbian manoeuvre in the 18th saw the Qatari fort fall early. Team Qatar were then left with the difficult task of playing catch up.
Boualem Khouki was guilty of directing the ball into his own net even as he tried to keep out a cross from Nemanja Gudelj soon after kick-off. Goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb was way out of position to prevent the ball from going in.
In the 18th, Serbia’s Dusan Valhovic foiled a Qatar raid inside their half and set off on a quick run from the centre. He crossed to team-mate Luka Jovic, running in from the right. The Real Madrid striker, now on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt, trapped and fired a left-footer into the nylons.
Qatar’s defence did well to thwart the Serbs for the rest of the session. But in the 59th, Khouki was dispossessed by midfielder Filip Djuricic just outside the box. Djuricic found Valhovic inside the penalty area and the latter slammed the ball past Al Sheeb.
Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez made some quick changes and brought in Akram Afif, Homam Ahmed and Assim Madibo. The fresh legs injected energy into Qatar’s attacks, but there was no real danger to the Serbian citadel.
In the 85th, when Serbia knocked in one more, defender Nikola Milenkovic heading home off a corner, there was little Qatar could do.
Source: Olympic Committee