Yusef Ahmed scored twice to keep alive Qatar's hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup as the tournament hosts beat China at Khalifa Stadium.
The Al Sadd striker scored a contender for goal of the tournament after 27 minutes before grabbing a second just before the break to steer his side to their first win in Group A.
The Chinese had been hoping build on their opening-game victory over Kuwait and they created the first chance after six minutes when Rong Hao crossed from the left for Deng Zhouxiang, who directed a header straight at goalkeeper Qasem Burhan.
Qatar's first opportunity came four minutes later when Ahmed shot from outside the area but it caused no danger for China shotstopper Zhao Peng, before China again had a chance through Gao Lin.
It took a goal of real quality to put Qatar ahead just before the half-hour mark when Ahmed controlled the ball with his thigh before unleashing an unstoppable volley from outside the area into the top right corner of Zhao Peng's net.
It almost became even better for the Qataris when they went close to doubling their advantage in the 31st minute as Sebastian Soria beat the offside trap but shot narrowly wide.
But the second goal did arrive in the first minute of first-half stoppage time when Ahmed, with his back to goal, hit a shot on the turn between the legs of defender Du Wei and into the net, sending the home fans into raptures.
It was always going to be difficult for the second half to match the pace of the first and it took until the 61st minute for either side to fashion a noteworthy chance as China's Yang Xu sent an effort just wide of the right post.
Soria could have added a third goal for his side four minutes later but failed to get his shot on target, and although China pushed in the closing stages, they never really threatened to stage a late rally as Qatar closed out an ultimately comfortable win.
Coach Bruno Metsu believes the Asian Cup has now seen the real Qatar after the tournament hosts beat China.
Qatar's first win of the tournament means they have three points in Group A,
three behind Uzbekistan and level on points with China.
Consequently there is all to play for in their final group game against Kuwait on Sunday, and Metsu feels another performance like the one against China will send them through to the last eight.
"We had to show the true face of our side and the players showed what we are capable of tonight,''Metsu said. "I'm proud with all what they showed and happy with this performance.
"I hope that we can have a similar display in next match against Kuwait so that we can carry on in the competition and advance to the knockout stage.''
Metsu also reserved praise for goalscoring hero Ahmed, adding: "Yusef didn't play well with Al Sadd at the start of the season, but when we had a preparatory camp, he featured in the Qatar Stars Cup and had a good performance.
"That's why we called him up and I believe that he has introduced himself well to the national team and he deserves to be with us.''
China coach Gao Hongbo feels his side need to become more ruthless in the final third if they are to remain in the tournament, but accepted the defeat was a valuable learning experience for his players.
"Our team didn't do very well in the attack,'' he said. "Qatar scored their two goals in the first half and we didn't put them under enough pressure so they organised their defence as the pressure was not big.
"We lost the game but losing is a part of life and I think we can do better in the next game, which is the most important game for us.''