Uruguayan-born striker Sebastian Quintana Soria rescued Qatar from the jaws of defeat as they battled back for a 1-1 draw against unfancied co-hosts Vietnam yesterday.
Soria, whose 88th-minute free kick secured a 1-1 draw against defending champions Japan in their Group B opener, struck late again with a 79th-minute header that canceled out an early strike by Vietnam forward Phan Thanh Binh.
The result still left Vietnam, who upset the United Arab Emirates in their opener, at the top of the group on four points.
Asian Games gold medalists Qatar have two points with Japan on one. Japan and the UAE face each other today.
Phan's goal came in the 32nd minute when he caught the ball on a counter-attack in midfield and drilled a 20m shot toward the goal.
In a comical schoolboy error, Qatar goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr fumbled the ball and it squirmed underneath him and dribbled over the line.
Qatar controlled the game early on with Soria the danger man, causing all sorts of problems for goalkeeper Phung Van Nhien. But Vietnam slowly picked up their pace with sporadic attacks as the full-house crowd got behind their team.
Soria came closest to drawing first blood in the 21st minute when his shot through two defenders was gathered by Phung, before Panh broke the deadlock.
The game heated up in the second half as the partisan sellout crowd of 40,000 chanted "Vietnam, Vietnam" and roared on their team with Mexican waves at the My Dinh National Stadium.
Soria headed in a rebound off substitute Ali Yahya's shot in the 79th minute.
Qatar squandered a golden chance to win four minutes later when Yahya rattled the bar and headed the rebound onto the top of the net.