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Qatar give Russia scare in Doha friendly

By Suman Malla / Doha

Qatar almost made a dream start under their new coach Milovan Rajevac only to be denied by bad luck as they drew 1-1 with Russia in the friendly international between the two future World Cup hosts at the Al Sadd Stadium yesterday.

Mohamed Kasoula put Qatar the hosts for 2022 World Cup ahead as early as in the third minute before Roman Pavlyuchenko equalised for the 2018 hosts in the 34th minute.

Pavlyuchenko broke the three-game goalless streak but the result left Russia coach Dick Advocaat under more pressure before their Euro 2012 qualifying return leg at home on June 4 against Armenia, who held them 0-0 last Saturday. Russia are tied on 10 points in Group B with Ireland and Slovakia.

Qatar, playing their first match since losing to Japan 3-2 in the Asian Cup quarter-finals, started brightly, going into early attack with their pressing game as the Russians, who are 13th in FIFA rankings, struggled to settle in.
In the third minute, Qatar took a surprising lead through Mohamed Kasoula after Meshal Mubarak was brought down on the left flank.

Hamid Ismaels resultant free kick deflected off Ibrahim Ghanem in the area and landed on the feet of captain Bilal Mohamed, who rounded a defender to centre the ball and Kasoula nodded it past Russia goalkeeper Sergey Ryzhikov to send the home crowd into rapture.

Before Russia could regroup themselves from that shocking goal, Qatar had a couple of glorious chances to extend their lead only to see the goalpost coming to the visitors rescue on both occasions.

In the seventh minute, Lawrence Quayes free kick from deep midfield picked out Sebastien Soria but the Qatar Sports Club strikers thumping header crashed against the near post. Two minutes on, Soria set up a clear ball into the box but Yousef was denied a goal as his shot hit the far post.

Russian gradually imposed themselves onto the game, with most of their moves coming from the left with Chelsea midfielder Yury Zhirkov making most of the running.

In the 14th minute, Arsenal player Andrei Arshavin picked out Pavlyuchenko in the area with a fine cross from the left. But the Tottenham Hotspur forwards header was parried away by Qatar goalkeeper Mohamed Mubarak and Roman Shirokov failed to connect the rebound.

Two minutes later, Mubarak came up with another save, blocking a goal-bound long cross from Zhirkov.

With the Russians now settled in, there were more chances for the visitors. But Mubarak continued to frustrate them as he came up with another brilliant save in the 24th minute to deny Shirokov from close range.

Pavlyuchenko did manage to put the ball into the net a minute later but he was ruled offside. But the lanky striker made no mistake in the 34th minute to put Russia on level terms. After gathering a neat pass from Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko forced the ball home despite Mubarak getting his hand to it.

Rajevac rang change bringing on Khalfan Ibrahim and Fabio Cesar to replace Soria and Wesam Rizik. But the Russians still managed to create problems for Qatar, with Igor Denisov going just wide from close three minutes from the break.

Russia returned with an overhauled look after the break with Advocaat making as many as seven changes to the side without much success.

In the 55th minute, Fabio tested Viacheslav Malafeev, who replaced Ryzhikov at the start of the second half, with a free kick.

After battling in the middle for much of the second half, Khalfan had a clear chance to steal a win for the hosts in the injury time but he shot over the bar from close range. And moments later Pavel Pogrebnyak almost gave Russia a victory only to go wide with his low left footer., 30 March, 2011

Qatar - Russia - 1:1

March 29, 2011
International Friendly
Doha. Al Sadd Stadium. 9000
Referee: Marai Al Aawaji (Saudi Arabia)
Qatar: Mohammed Budawood (Baba Malick, 46), Bilal Mohammed (), Ibrahim Abdulmaged, Hamid Ismail (Muhammed Razark, 56), Mohammed Kasola (Musa Haroon, 84), Meshai Mubarak (Khalid Muftah, 82), Lawrence Quaye (Magid Mohammed, 88), Wesam Rizki Abdulmajid (Fabio Cesar Montezine, 43), Yusuf Ahmed (Hussain Ali Shihab, 73), Sebastian Andres Quintana Soria (Khalfan Ibrahim, 37; Mohamed Salem Al Hamad, 90+3), El Sayed Mohammed (Ali Afif, 68).
Coach Milovan Rajevac
Russia: Sergei Ryzhikov (Viacheslav Malafeev, 46), Sergei Ignashevich (Alexei Berezutsky, 46), Vasili Berezutsky, Aleksandr Aniukov, Yuri Zhirkov (Yevgeni Makeev, 46), Konstatin Zurianov (Igor Semshov, 46), Igor Denisov (Dennis Glushakov, 46), Roman Shirokov (Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, 46), Aleksei Ionov (Dmitri Torbinsky, 46), Andrei Arshavin (Pavel Pogrebniak, 46), Roman Pavlyuchenko
Coach: Dick Advocaat
Scoring Summary: Mohammed Kasola (3'), Roman Pavlyuchenko (34')

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