Qatar showed his Asian champion credentials on Sunday by drawing Paraguay 2-2 at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro despite losing 2-0. The pupils of the Spanish trainer Felix Sanchez never gave up, despite receiving the first goal through a penalty in the 4 minutes and appealed to its varied menu of tactical resources and quick triangulations.
The final result leaves both teams in the middle of the Group B standings with one point and Colombia at the top with 3 thanks to their 2-0 Saturday victory over Argentina, which finished the first date without points. La Albirroja opened early lead thanks to a penalty charged by Cardozo.
Endured the pressure the rest of the first half, when it was saved several times by interventions goalkeeper ‘Kitten’ Fernández, and expanded at the beginning of the second half with a goal of Derlis González, who entered the field from the bank.
But Qatar, who dominated the game but failed in the finals, came to a draw with a goal from young Almoez Ali, scorer of the Asian Cup, and another from Boualem Khoukhi after one of the characteristic triangulations of passes in the attack.
Paraguay started pressing from the opening whistle and, in a wrong exit from Qatar, Arzamendia almost opened the scoring in the first minute of play. But the Paraguayan fans did not have to wait long to celebrate because a minute later, after a foul charged by Almirón, Balbuena’s header hit the hand of the nationalized Qatari player Pedro Correia and the referee scored the penalty without even needing help from VAR. .
Cardozo, the veteran attacker of Libertad, 36, kicked with perfection at an angle and raised and scored his twelfth goal with the albirroja shirt. Although Paraguay tried to take advantage of the initial advantage to go on the attack in plays thrown by Almirón and Pérez, the Qatari team managed to overcome its initial lethargy, began to organize and leave orderly points in plays that forced the goalkeeper Fernandez to intervene several times .
Hassan Al-Haydos, the oldest of the young Qatari team, began to play calmly, to advance on the right and generate several plays of danger. In the middle of the Asian domain with a touch of ball that showed the hand of the Spanish technician Félix Sánchez and his school barcelonista.
Paraguay managed to breathe for 5 minutes and made three dangerous attacks with Almirón and Domínguez that almost allowed him to expand the score, among them a Balbuena header that went over the crossbar and a shot by Perez that passed by.
But Qatar quickly took back the dominance and almost achieved the draw thanks to a play by Al-Haydos who found Qatari striker Almoez Ali free inside the box but his shot demanded a shot from Fernandez, who won applause at the Maracana.
To try to shake off the Asian domain, the coach of Paraguay, the Argentine Eduardo Berizzo, sacrificed the wheel Perez and sent the court at the beginning of the second half to Derlis Gonzalez, which allowed him to have three players in the attack.
And on his first play, Gonzalez, of the Brazilian Santos, got an assist for Cardozo to increase the score, but the score, which came to be celebrated by a few instants, was canceled after the respective consultation to the VAR.
Gonzalez himself, who gave a new face to Paraguay and put him in the attack, managed to expand the score at 11 minutes of the second half with a shot from distance. Qatar did not give up; discounted twelve minutes later by Almoez Ali and came to the equalizer 13 minutes from the end with a goal from Khoukhi after a big triangulation and a false start by Fernandez.
As in the first half, in second Qatar maintained the dominance thanks to their permanent exchange of passes, threatened with the comeback and won the audience of the Maracana, who came to sing the traditional “ole” for their triangulations. The second day of Group B will face on June 19 surprising Qatar with Colombia and the need Argentina with Paraguay.