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AFC U23 Asian Cup: Qatar end group stage with 0-0 draw against Australia

DOHA: Qatar and Australia played out a 0-0 draw in their final Group A encounter at the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024 on Sunday.

With Australia needing a win to keep their hopes alive after a disappointing start, the pressure was on them to get their desired result. Qatar, already having secured their progress with two wins, aimed to maintain their unbeaten streak and top the group.

From the kickoff, Qatar displayed their attacking prowess, with Mohamed Manai testing the Australian defense early on. Despite Qatar’s early dominance, Australia gradually found their footing and began to assert themselves in midfield. Jacob Italiano and Rhys Youlley came close to breaking the deadlock for Australia, but Qatar’s goalkeeper Ali Korayem produced crucial saves to keep the score level.

As the first half progressed, Australia’s confidence grew, and they started to create more opportunities. However, Qatar’s defence remained resolute, denying their opponents any clear-cut chances.

The Australians continued to dominate after the break, with Lachlan Brook seeing his go effort over the bar while Alexandar Popovic’s header ensured Mahdi Al Mejaba’s shot went out safely. Brook again went close soon after, side-footing high over the Qatar goal.

As the half wore on the Olyroos continued to be frustrated, never more than when Keegan Jelicic’s 75th minute attempt was pushed onto the post by a diving Korayem.

In the end, the match finished in a tense goalless stalemate, with Qatar remaining unbeaten in the tournament and Australia bowing out with a sense of frustration.

(Source: AFC)

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