DOHA, Qatar (AP) -A long-range strike from Uruguayan-born striker Sebastian Suria helped Qatar beat Lebanon 1-0 Wednesday in an Asian World Cup qualifier that boosted its chances of booking a spot in Brazil.
Suria took a pass from Fabio Cesar and fired the ball from 20 meters (yards) outside the area, sending it curling past Lebanon keeper Abbas Hassan. The goal set off raucous celebrations among the home supporters, who are desperate for a good showing after Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. The win moved Qatar into a second in Group A alongside South Korea and Australia and a point behind leader Uzbekistan.
Qatar almost doubled its lead 10 minutes later when Suria sent a back-heel pass to Lawrence, whose driving shot was knocked away by Hassan. Lebanon had a chance to draw level in extra time but a diving Qasem Burhan saved Roda Antar's shot.
"I want to congratulate the players for the victory. The players are good and realized they had to raise their game and they did just that," Qatar's Brazilian coach, Paulo Autuori, said. "We deserve to win the match."
Autuori said the win puts Qatar in the middle of the fight for two automatic World Cup spots with three matches remaining.
With the loss, Lebanon is now bottom of the table and a long shot to advance. It is four points behind group leader Uzbekistan, which beat Iran 1-0.
Lebanon Coach Theo Bucker said the key to the match was the failure of his strikers to attack.
"We are much better than what we displayed today. It was a pressure game for both sides," he said. "We need to play tough at this level, but as we see today it was different."