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Qatar held by Syria in AFC U23 Championship

Bangkok, Thailand: Qatar were held to a 2-2 draw by Syria who came back from two goals down to salvage a point in Group B of the AFC U23 Championship in Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday.

Substitute Alaa Aldin Dali struck late, converting Mohammad Alhallak’s cross at the far post to earn a share of the spoils for Syria on a night when Yusuf Abdurisag’s early effort and an own goal from defender Yosief Mohammad had given Qatar a two-goal lead.

Qatar were ahead within 60 seconds of the kickoff. Syria goalkeeper William Ghannam fumbled Amro Surag’s deep cross leaving Yusuf Abdurisag the simplest of finishes from close range.

To his credit, Ghannam made amends for his error moments later, this time palming away Hashim Ali’s fierce drive following a neatly worked free-kick.

After weathering a brief Syrian flurry, Qatar stretched their advantage in the 22nd minute as Yosief put through his own net when trying to deal with Homam Ahmed’s whipped cross.

Syria were, though, to throw themselves a lifeline as half-time approached, Abdul Rahman Barakat converting Kamel Koaeh’s pinpoint set-piece courtesy of a powering header that gave Qatar goalkeeper Mohammed Al Bakri little or no chance.

Clearly buoyed by their goal, Syria started the second half brightly, with first substitute Abdul Kader Adi fizzing a drive narrowly wide on 56 minutes and then Barakat thumping an effort into the side netting shortly after.

As the game wore on and with defences dominating, Qatar forward Khalid Mazeed forced Ghannam into a smart stop, before the Al Wathba custodian produced a fine double save to deny Hashim Ali and Abdurisag.

However, in a dramatic late twist, Dali was on hand to draw Syria level and crown a sensational fight back.

Qatar will next be in action when they face Saudi Arabia, with Syria scheduled to meet Japan. Both games will take place at the Thammasat Stadium on Sunday.

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