Copa America 2019: Qatar draw Paraguay 2-2 on again of late strikes to make sure promising event debut

Boualem Khoukhi scored 13 minutes from time as Asian champions Qatar hit again from being down 0-2 to earn a 2-2 draw towards Paraguay on the Copa America on Sunday.

An Oscar Cardozo penalty and a surprising Derlis Gonzalez strike gave the South Americans a 2-Zero lead in Rio de Janeiro however objectives from Almoez Ali and Khoukhi within the last quarter snatched a share of the Group B spoils for the event debutants.

“It’s a fair result, we deserved the point we gained,” mentioned Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez. He praised his gamers for “keeping the faith” and “showing the desire to go after the game, that was the most positive thing for us.”

Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi (proper) scores towards Paraguay throughout their Copa America match. AFP

It left each side two factors behind Group B leaders Colombia, who opened their account with a 2-Zero win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina on Saturday. “We were unable to manage our advantage and we leave with a bitter taste,” admitted Gonzalez.

Tournament invitees Qatar made a disastrous begin with a defensive combine up within the first minute inflicting panic in their very own space. The Asian champions survived however Paraguay stored the strain on and a few minutes later had gained a penalty for handball after a Bruno Valdez header struck Portuguese-born full-back Pedro Miguel’s arm.

Cardozo hammered the ensuing spot-kick straight down the center of the objective to offer Paraguay a fourth-minute lead. Qatar ought to have equalized on 16 minutes however two gamers missed an open objective.

Left-back Hassan Abdelkarim flashed an inviting centre throughout the six-yard field the place Sudanese-born Ali and Hasan Khalid Al Haydos each one way or the other contrived to fully miss the ball from simply a few yards out.

Qatar, the subsequent World Cup hosts in 2022, have been neat and tidy in possession however initially lacked the leading edge and ruthlessness that Paraguay confirmed. The South Americans threatened to double their lead however Fabian Balbuena headed over and Hernan Perez compelled a wise save from goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb.

Qatar had one other nice likelihood to equalize after Al Haydas’s lovely chipped go discovered Abdulaziz Hatem six yards out at an angle, however he blasted a volley straight into goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez’s chest.

Qatar fightback

Paraguay seemed to have doubled their lead on 51 minutes when Cardozo turned residence a Miguel Almiron cross, however VAR adjudged Gonzalez to have been offside within the build-up.

Five minutes later, although, Gonzalez himself scored the second with a screamer from 25 yards into the highest nook.

Qatar have been again in it midway by the second interval with a particular strike of their very own as Ali’s shot from the nook of the 18-yard field took a nick off a defender’s foot and arched over Fernandez into the highest nook, drawing cheers from the sparse crowd contained in the Maracana stadium.

And the Asian champions have been stage 13 minutes from time after opening up the Paraguay defence with a slick passing transfer.

Akram Afif slipped in Algerian-born Khoukhi, working in at an angle between full-back and centre-back.

His end hit Fernandez’s knee and ballooned up into the air the place the backtracking Rodrigo Rojas tried to go it off the road however succeeded solely in placing the ball into the roof of the web after which injured himself falling into the objective.

“We need to take a look at our midfield play,” Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo mentioned. “We were up against very good opponents.”

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