Al­moez nets four as Qatar slam six past North Ko­rea

Al­moez also etched him­self into the AFC Asian Cup record books for equalling the record for the most goals net­ted by a player as Qatar qual­i­fied for the last 16 stage of the con­ti­nent’s premier com­pe­ti­tion

Gulf Times Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

Al­moez Ali was the star of the show yes­ter­day af­ter­noon as he scored four and set up a fifth in Qatar’s 6-0 de­feat of North Ko­rea as Felix Sanchez’s side moved to the top of the Group E stand­ings and into the knock­out stage of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.

The Al Duhail striker, now the tour­na­ment’s lead­ing scorer with five goals in two games, shone as his part­ner­ship with Akram Afif down the left de­stroyed the DPR Korean de­fence re­peat­edly while Boualem Khoukhi and Ab­delka­rim Hassan also put their names on the score­sheet.

Al­moez also etched him­self into the AFC Asian Cup record books with his per­for­mance as he equalled the record for the most goals net­ted by a player in a sin­gle match at the con­ti­nent’s premier com­pe­ti­tion.

He holds the record jointly with Ali Daei from the Iran (1996), Bahrain’s Is­maeel Ab­dul­latif (2011) and Jor­da­nian Hamza al-Dar­dour (2015).

Yes­ter­day’s Vic­tory means Sanchez’s side have se­cured them­selves a top two fin­ish in the group and their win also en­sures Saudi Ara­bia will progress to the last 16. The teams face off on Thurs­day to de­ter­mine who will top the group, with Qatar’s huge win mean­ing a draw in Abu Dhabi will be enough to take pole po­si­tion.

After labour­ing in the open­ing hour of their 2-0 win over Le­banon, Qatar were tak­ing no chances against North Ko­rea, with Sanchez restor­ing the in­flu­en­tial Hassan to the start­ing line-up and the West Asian side pos­sessed a greater level of ur­gency as a re­sult.

Within nine min­utes the Qataris were in front as Afif glided past Sim Hyon Jin be­fore de­liv­er­ing a low cross to Al­moez that he con­trolled with his right be­fore stroking past Ri My­ong Guk with his left.

Two min­utes later and Qatar dou­bled their lead, with the threat this time com­ing down the right. Hassan’s sweep­ing ball found Hassan al-Hay­dos, the Qatar cap­tain, and his low cen­tre gave Al­moez the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to strike from close range. Once again he was clin­i­cal, net­ting for the third time in the tour­na­ment. A string of yel­low cards for Ri Un Chol, Jong Il Gwan and Ri Il Jin sug­gested North Ko­rea were about to lose con­trol, but even­tu­ally Kim Yong Jun’s side set­tled and al­most pulled them­selves back into the game. Ri Un Chol tried his luck from out­side the area and his right foot drive only nar­rowly failed to find the top cor­ner.

That, though, was to prove a brief bright spot in an oth­er­wise dis­ap­point­ing half for DPR Ko­rea. With just two min­utes re­main­ing, they found them­selves fur­ther be­hind when Afif lifted the ball high over the ad­vanc­ing Ri Myung Guk and Khoukhi headed in from close range.

Qatar re­fused to re­lent as they sought to boost their goal dif­fer­ence ahead of their cru­cial meet­ing with Saudi Ara­bia, with Al­moez com­plet­ing his hat trick 10 min­utes into the sec­ond half with an easy fin­ish after Afif’s per­fectly weighted through ball.

The 22-year-old added fur­ther mis­ery for North Ko­rea five min­utes later when he linked up again with Afif, who led a rapid-fire coun­ter­at­tack for the Qataris be­fore rolling the ball through to Al­moez and he smashed his shot across Ri Myung Guk and in­side the far post.

Al­moez turned provider in the 68th minute when his pass al­lowed Hassan to storm through the ri­val de­fence and slot home Qatar’s sixth and the east Asian side’s mis­ery was com­pounded in in­jury time when Jong Il Gwan was sent off for sec­ond book­able of­fence.

Al­moez Ali (R) and cap­tain Hassan al-Hay­dos cel­e­brate one of Qatar’s goals against North Ko­rea in Al Ain yes­ter­day.

Akram Afif con­grat­u­lates Al­moez Ali in Al Ain yes­ter­day.

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