All photos by Ray Toh
Qatar’s national football team continued its winning streak last night after beating China during the latest qualifying match for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The victory, which took place at the air-conditioned Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Al Sadd, brings Qatar closer to playing in a World Cup for the first time.
The Gulf nation is intent on competing in 2018 to prove its mettle ahead of 2022, when it will automatically qualify to play as host country of the tournament.
The only goal of the night was scored by Karim Boudiaf, and the match win allows Qatar to lead its group category with a five-point margin.
The national team has so far won all three of its previous matches against Hong Kong, Bhutan and the Maldives. It still has four more games to go, including another against the Maldives on Oct. 13, and will end their group qualifiers in a final, closing showdown against China next March.
The 12 teams from the Asian qualifiers will eventually be divided into two groups of six at the final group stage, after which the top two in each group will qualify for Russia.
Like during many international games, last night’s match was well-attended.
According to photographer Ray Toh, the Chinese team saw a strong fan turnout, as attendees outfitted in red shirts and touting flags filled the stadium with noise as early at 5pm.
But as it got closer to match time, Qatar fans turned up, filling up more than half the stadium and out-cheering the Chinese section, he said.
Were you at the game? Thoughts?