Qatar routs NoKor, 6-0

Sun.Star Cebu - - PRIME SPORTS -

Qatar thrashed North Korea 6-0 on Sun­day and ad­vanced to the knock­out stages of the Asian Cup af­ter the big­gest win in this tour­na­ment so far.

Saudi Ara­bia, which beat Le­banon 2-0 on Satur­day for its sec­ond straight vic­tory, will join Qatar in the round of 16 from Group E. Amid di­plo­matic ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries, Qatar and Saudi Ara­bia meet Thurs­day in a game which will de­cide the group win­ner.

Four-time cham­pion Ja­pan and Uzbek­istan also made the next round with a game to spare in Group F. Ja­pan beat Oman 1-0 on Sun­day and Uzbek­istan routed Turk­menistan 4-0.

The top two teams in each group and the four best third­placed teams ad­vance to the round of 16.

Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, has been sub­ject to a di­plo­matic and lo­gis­ti­cal boy­cott by re­gional ri­vals, in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia, for more than 18 months.

Af­ter a goal in the open­ing 2-0 vic­tory over Le­banon, Qatar star striker Al­moez Ali added four more to be­come the tourna- ment’s lead­ing scorer. He struck twice within two min­utes early in the first half to give Qatar a com­fort­able lead with two more goals in the sec­ond half.

Ali has scored nine goals in his last eight games for his coun­try.

Boualem Khoukhi and Ab­delka­rim Has­san also had a goal apiece for Qatar, which won two open­ing Asian Cup games for the first time.

In Abu Dhabi, Genki Haraguchi earned the penalty and then con­verted from the spot in the 28th minute for Ja­pan.

In Dubai, El­dor Sho­murodov led Uzbek­istan with two goals and Ja­vokhir Sidikov and Jalolid­din Masharipov also scored — all in the first half.

Ja­pan and Uzbek­istan meet on Thurs­day to de­cide the group’s top spot. /

AP FOTO

NEXT ROUND. Ja­pan ad­vanced to the next round af­ter a 1-0 win over Oman.

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