Qatar thrash UAE to reach Asian Cup football final

Qatar to face Japan in the final after beating hosts in front of a hostile crowd in Abu Dhabi.

The win, coming in front of a hostile Abu Dhabi crowd, sealed Qatar’s progress to the title match for the first time where it will face Japan on Friday.

The UAE had been hoping to reach the Asian Cup final for the second time, but instead look likely to face sanctions after Ali was pelted with footwear as he celebrated his goal with Haydos and Ismail, who were also the target of footwear-throwing spectators.

The cloud of the diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt launched in June 2017 hung heavy over the stadium with the visitors’ national anthem roundly booed by the majority of the crowd of 38,646.

The match was marred by crowd disruptions twice where shoes and bottles were thrown at Qatari players celebrating after scoring. 

The crowd could be heard chanting and booing during the playing of Qatar’s national anthem minutes before the start.

Showing sympathy for Qatar is punishable in the UAE with a jail term of up to 15 years.

Dubbed the Blockade Derby, the match was the first meeting between the two regional rivals since the start of the Gulf crisis.

Free tickets were distributed among “loyal” Emirati fans on Sunday by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, which bought all the remaining ones for Tuesday’s semi-final.

Meanwhile, non-Emiratis attempting to avail the free entry were turned away, UAE news outlet, The National reported.