Asian Cup: Record-breaking Almoez Ali inspires Qatar | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 13.01.2019
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Asian Cup: Record-breaking Almoez Ali inspires Qatar

World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar clinched their place in the last 16 on the back of a record-breaking display from Almoez Ali. Japan and Uzbekistan followed suit in contrasting styles.

North Korea 0-6 Qatar

(Ali 9', 11', 55', 60', Khoukhi 43', Hassan 68')

A four-goal haul within 51 minutes from Almoez Ali, the fastest such haul in tournament history, inspired Qatar to a 6-0 win over ten-man North Korea, securing their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.

Ali's dream display with two goals in each half catapulted him top of the scoring charts. Boualem Khoukhi headed the third shortly before the break and Abdelkarim Hassan, the 2018 Asian Player of the Year, completed the rout.

Unfortunately, with North Korean citizens unable to travel freely and Qatari's generally barred from the UAE, just 300 people witnessed the biggest win of the tournament so far in Al Ain's 16,000-seat Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium.

Read more: Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia reach Round of 16

German Mark Slonek, one of the small number of neutrals in the oval, all-seater ground, said it was a pity that more fans were not there to watch.

"It's a real shame," said the 43-year-old IT administrator from Stuttgart. "It's like a lower-tier game in Germany, there's maybe 100 people here. More staff (than fans). I was expecting more than 1,000."

It was a far cry from the nearly 34,000 fans at the tournament's curtain-raiser in Abu Dhabi, while more than 76,000 attended the 2015 final in Sydney.

Qatar will face Saudi Arabia to decide the winner of Group E on Thursday.

Oman 0-1 Japan

(Haraguchi 28')

Hannover 96's Genki Haraguchi smashed home a controversial penalty as former champions Japan rode their luck in a 1-0 win over Oman.

The four-time Asian Cup winners are now unbeaten in seven games since Hajime Moriyasu took charge after the World Cup, but enjoyed their share of good fortune in another disappointing display.

Haraguchi clipped the crossbar after just two minutes before breaking the deadlock from the spot, while Takumi Minamino fluffed a handful of golden opportunities to settle the nerves.

Fußball AFC Asian Cup Japan - Oman (picture-alliance/AP Photo/N. El-Mofty)

Hannover 96 midfielder Genki Haraguchi scored the only goal of the game from the spot.

"It was tougher than we thought it would be," Japan captain Maya Yoshida told AFP. "We were a little bit lucky with the penalty we had -- and the one not given as well. But we should have scored two or three more. That's why we struggled at the end of the game in the last 10 minutes."

Turkmenistan 0-4 Uzbekistan

(Sidikov 17', Shomurodov 24', 42', Masharipov 40')

Uzbekistan cruised into the knockout stages of the Asian Cup as they thumped a hapless Turkmenistan side to set-up a Group F decider against Japan.

Read more: Defending champions Australia off the mark

Javokhir Sidikov opened the scoring and Eldor Shomurodov's double sandwiching Jaloliddin Masharipov's strike effectively won the game for Héctor Cuper's side before the interval. 

With Turkmenistan unable to reduce the deficit after the restart, Uzbekistan know a draw would be enough to clinch top spot in Group F on goal difference ahead of Thursday's clash with the Blue Samurai.

jt (dpa/AFP)


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