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Qatar U23s score Egyptian-flavored opening win

Qatar's U-23 team at the 2016 AFC Championship

’s U-23 team at the 2016 Championship

Qatar’s under-23 national team got its campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over China in front of the home crowd at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha. Despite conceding first, the home side staged an impressive second half comeback to come away with the three points and take a big step towards the next round. 

China opened the scoring in the 43rd minute from a well-placed free kick by midfielder Lisheng Liao to take a 1-0 lead into the break. However, the hosts came out firing in the second half and a quick double from Abdelkarim Hassan put the Qataris on top, before Ahmed Alaaeldin sealed the game in the 82nd minute.

The Qatari side, which is led by former Barcelona academy coach Félix Sánchez, features a distinct Egyptian flavor to it. In fact, three players on Sánchez’s 23-man squad are of Egyptian descent: Ahmed Yasser, and brothers Mohamed and Ahmed Alaaeldin.

Yasser, who comes from a family with a strong football tradition, is the son of former Egyptian footballer Yasser El-Mohammadi and is the younger brother of former Ahly and Zamalek player Hussein Yasser. The Lekhwiya midfielder, who played the full 90 minutes, is now the third member of his family to represent Qatar internationally.

As for Mohamed and Ahmed Alaaeldin, the Egyptian-born brothers moved to Qatar with their family in 2003. Products of the ASPIRE Academy, both currently ply their trade for Qatari Stars League side Al-Rayyan. While Mohamed was an unused sub against China, Ahmed was introduced as a 78th minute substitute and added his name to the scorer’s list just four minutes later.

Qatar face Iran next on Friday before closing out the group on Monday against Syria.

The 2016 U-23 Championship serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Only the top three finishers in the competition qualify for this summer’s tournament.

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