PHOENIX, Arizona – Qatar reached the semifinals of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup after beating El Salvador, 3-2, in a thrilling quarterfinal clash on Saturday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Qatar appeared to be sailing to victory with a 3-0 lead in the second half, until El Salvador mounted a valiant comeback that fell short.
Qatar could not have asked for a better start as they took a 1-0 lead in the 2 ‘when a draw from El Salvador led to a counterattack, which ended with a pass from Akram Afif to Almoez Ali, whose final beat El Salvador GK Mario. González for the goal.
The momentum was clearly with the reigning Asian champions and they quickly doubled the lead to 2-0 at 8 ‘, with Pedro Miguel finding Abdelaziz Hatim, who made a small play before unleashing a shot with his right leg that rippled the net.
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El Salvador looked to regroup and score a goal before halftime, but were met by a very compact Qatar defense that kept dangerous Salvadorans at bay.
El Salvador’s comeback was made much more difficult on 55 ‘when a handoff resulted in a Qatar penalty and Ali smashed the penalty for his second goal of the night to make it 3-0.
After Qatar’s third goal, El Salvador enjoyed their best playing streak and resulted in their first goal of the night in the 63rd minute, with a touch pass from Amando Moreno meeting the cutting Joaquín Rivas, who finished off to lead El Salvador inside. 3-1.
The goal gave life to El Salvador and suddenly it was 3-2 in the 66th minute when Bryan Tamacas won a deep ball in the Qatar area and fed Rivas, who stroked with his left foot.
That set the stage for a dramatic finale in which El Salvador threw numbers forward in hopes of a draw, but their bid to become the first team to come back from a three-goal deficit in a Gold Cup match stayed. no time.
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