Posted on November 15, 2012

Sebastian Soria fired home a wonder goal 15 minutes from time as Qatar revived their hopes of qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 win over Lebanon on Wednesday.

The Uruguay-born player lit up a dour encounter at the Al Sadd Stadium with a fine individual effort in the 75th minute as he took possession of the ball on the halfway line and ran unchallenged into the Lebanese half before he unleashed a shot from 30 metres into top corner of the Lebanese net.

Soria's superlative strike lit up what had been a poor game up to that point and Qatar could have extended their lead in the closing minutes as Lawrence Quaye was denied by an excellent save by Lebanon goalkeeper Abbas HassanBut the visitors nearly grabbed a share of the points right at the end when skipper Rida Antar saw his stoppage-time effort brilliantly tipped aside by Qatar goalkeeper Qasem Burhan.

The win was only the second in the final round qualifiers for the Qataris who moved up to seven points, level with Group A front-runners Korea Republic and Iran for at least a couple of hours before Iran's match against Uzbekistan in Tehran.

Lebanon are now alone at the bottom of the group with four points after their second loss to the Qataris following a 1-0 defeat in Beirut in June when Soria was also on target for the Gulf side.

There was little real quality on display in a dour first half as both teams struggled to find their rhythm. The home side enjoyed plenty of early possession but they were unable to find a way through the well-marshalled Lebanon defence as Soria found himself starved of any real service.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of support from the stands and they began to enjoy more possession as the game progressed. They even had the best opportunity of the opening half in the 20th minute as Abbas Atwi fired a shot from 20 metres that forced a smart save from Burhan.

The match continued to be a scrappy affair well into the second half with the poor play epitomised by a 70th minute free-kick by Qatari playmaker Fabio Cesar that he fired woefully over the crossbar from 20 metres out. Yusef Ali got in on the act shortly after when he was found unmarked on the edge of the box but scooped the ball well over the target.

But just as the match looked destined for a goalless stalemate, Soria lit up the occasion with a goal completely out of keeping with what had gone before. He received the ball just inside his own half and made a 20-metre run before firing a superb shot into the top right corner of the Lebanese net that left Hassan flat-footed.

Hassan made some amends with a fine save in the 83rd minute when he swatted away Quaye's fierce drive from the edge of the box. Qatar were on top in the closing minutes but they were indebted to goalkeeper Burhan who made a fine fingertip save in stoppage time to keep out a low effort by Antar that was angling towards the bottom corner of the net.

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