Sebastian Soria made the most of a horrible defensive blunder as Qatar beat Lebanon 1-0 in their World Cup qualifying match at the Sports City Stadium here on Sunday.
The Uruguay-born hitman easily intercepted an inexplicable back pass by Lebanon defender Ramez Dayoub to fire Qatar into the lead in the 64th minute and give Paulo Autuori’s side three valuable points in their Group A fixture in the Lebanese capital.
Dayoub had acres of space to work the ball, but instead tried to pass it to goalkeeper Ziad al-Samad from outside the penalty area only for Soria to race ahead and find the net with ease.
Al-Samad, who was caught by surprise at Dayoub’s move, until then had produced a stirring display to deny Qatar at least two clear goals in the first half, including one off a powerful shot by Soria.
Qatar produced more scoring opportunities but a mixture of poor finishing and goalkeeper al-Samad’s heroics prevented them from winning the match by a bigger margin.
As early as the sixth minute Soria was a tad late in reaching the ball, which al-Samad cleared from well inside the penalty area.
Lebanon, who were without their inspirational captain Rada Antar and striker Mahmoud El Ali, however had their chances.
They had a golden opportunity to score in the 25th minute when the Qatar defence was caught napping but Abbas Ahmed Atwi’s shot from 20 yards hit the post and Hassan Maatouk, who was lurking nearby, failed to capitalise on the rebound.
The Qatari goal survived another scare when Mohamed Ghaddar’s header sailed over the post early in the second half.
A decent crowd watched the match after Lebanese authorities reversed an earlier decision to bar spectators over Qatari fears their players may be targeted for the country’s opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.