Asian Cup: Qatar’s f4-goal Ali equals record against North Korea; Ja­pan beats Oman

Business World - - World Sports -

AL AIN, United Arab Emi­rates — Qatar strode im­pres­sively into the knock­out rounds of the Asian Cup on Sun­day as the 2022 World Cup hosts handed North Korea a 6-0 thrash­ing, with striker Al­moez Ali scor­ing a record-equalling four times for Felix Sanchez’s side.

The Al Duhail for­ward was in ram­pant form for the Qataris as he be­came only the fourth player in Asian Cup his­tory to score four in a sin­gle game.

Ali helped him­self against a poor North Korean side, who trailed from the ninth minute and were six goals down with a quar­ter of the game still to go.

Qatar’s win moves them into pole po­si­tion in group E and means they can fin­ish no lower than sec­ond in the group what­ever the out­come of their meet­ing with Saudi Ara­bia on Thurs­day.

The win­ner of that tie will face ei­ther Ja­pan or Uzbek­istan in the Round of 16 af­ter those two na­tions guar­an­teed they would fin­ish in first and sec­ond place in group F fol­low­ing wins over Oman and Turk­menistan re­spec­tively.

The lead­ing pair also meet on Thurs­day to de­ter­mine the fin­ish­ing or­der in the group.

Ali put Qatar in com­mand with goals in the ninth and 11th min­utes be­fore Boualem Khoukhi net­ted his side’s third from close range two min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val.

He com­pleted his hat-trick 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half af­ter latch­ing on to Akram Afif’s through ball and slot­ting past Ri Myung Guk.

Five min­utes later, the same pair com­bined again for Ali to notch his fourth be­fore Asian Player of the Year Ab­delka­rim Has­san com­pleted the rout with a fine solo goal mid­way through the sec­ond half.

“We’re very pleased with the per­for­mance the team dis­played to­day,” said Sanchez, af­ter his side had reg­is­tered the big­gest win of the tour­na­ment so far.

“The fact of scor­ing early also gave us the con­fi­dence to keep go­ing and the team never stopped try­ing to keep play­ing our game, even when it seemed the game was over, with the fourth goal es­pe­cially.”

Ja­pan had a penalty from Genki Haraguchi to thank for their rou­tine 1-0 win over Oman as Ha­jime Moriyasu con­tin­ued his un­beaten run since tak­ing over as Ja­pan coach fol­low­ing the World Cup.

The re­sult means Ja­pan are sec­ond in group F and must beat Uzbek­istan on Thurs­day to win the group af­ter Hec­tor Cu­per’s team thrashed neigh­bors Turk­menistan 4-0 in the day’s late game.

El­dor Sho­murodov claimed two — in the 24th and 42nd min­utes — while Ja­vokhir Sidikov and Jalolid­din Masharipov were also on tar­get for Uzbek­istan. —

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