Saturday, May 8, 2021

AFC Asian Cup – Qatar reach Asian Cup final despite sandal-throwing UAE fans

Qatar reach
UAE fans throw bottles and flip-flops at the pitch during the AFC Asian Cup semifinal between Qatar and UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (AFP)

ABU DHABI, January 29: Qatar defied sandal-throwing local fans to storm into the Asian Cup final for the first time with a 4-0 win over hosts United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, setting up a decider against Japan.
Boualem Khoukhi’s early strike and an eighth goal of the tournament from striker Almoez Ali gave Qatar a 2-0 halftime lead and captain Hassan Al-Haydos and Hamid Ismail completed the rout in the last 10 minutes.
The UAE had been hoping to reach the Asian Cup final for the second time, but instead look likely to face sanctions after Ali was pelted with footwear as he celebrated his goal and Haydos attracted another barrage of missiles after his strike.
A half-time entertainer sang “Let’s bring Asia together” but there was little harmony as the crowd — boosted by mass giveaways exclusively to locals — continued to hurl abuse at the Qataris.
UAE almost pulled a goal back after the interval when Ali Mabkhout’s deflected shot forced Saad Al-Sheeb into a fingertip save before substitute Ahmed Khalil also tested Al-Sheeb’s reflexes.
The 2022 World Cup hosts will take on Japan, who will be seeking a record fifth title, across town at the 43,000-capacity Zayed Sports City on Friday. (AFP)