ABU DHABI ( Halbeeg News)- Qatar’s football team reached the final of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time with a 4-0 win over hosts and regional rivals the United Arab Emirates in Tuesday’s semi-final in Abu Dhabi.
A goalkeeping error by Khalid Eisa Bilal gifted the opening goal to Boualem Khoukhi after 22 minutes, and Almoez Ali doubled the lead on 37 minutes to take his tournament-leading tally to eight goals.
Hasan Al Haydos added a third on 80 minutes from the penalty spot, and Hamid Ismaeil scored in injury time as Qatar maintained a perfect record that has seen them score 16 goals without conceding in six straight wins.
The match had been dubbed by some the second “blockade derby” following Qatar’s victory over Saudi Arabia earlier in the tournament, a reference to the economic embargo and diplomatic offensive that has seen Doha isolated by its Gulf neighbours since mid-2017.
Footage on social media showed spectators at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium booing the Qatari national anthem before the match started.
Another clip posted on Twitter appeared to show shoes being thrown in the direction of Qatar’s players as they celebrated their second goal.
Qatar will now face Japan on Friday in the final of the Asian continental championship, a tournament in which the Gulf peninsula nation had never previously advanced further than the last eight.