Qatar overcame a highly sensitive semi-final against host nation UAE and will meet Japan. Qatar scored two goals either side of the half and managed to keep a clean sheet. Qatar will be the first team to reach the finals without a single goal conceded in the tournament.
The meeting of Qatar and UAE was dubbed the “blockade” derby making it a highly sensitive clash. The political backstory created the expectation that it would be a close match. It was not to be and Qatar ended the UAE’s Asian Cup hopes with a 4-0 win.
The match was relatively balanced until the 22nd minute of the first half when Boualem Khoukhi put Qatar in front. Khoukhi seemed to have missed the opportunity to play the ball into the path of his team mate who was running into the box. Khoukhi instead went for goal and a blunder by the Emarati keeper saw the ball go under his hands and into the net.
Fifteen minutes later Almoez Ali picked up the ball on the left side of the box, turn toward the Emarati goal and curved a sublime shot onto the far post through a number of Emarati defenders and past the keepers hands.
The second half was more of the same with the Emarati team pushing to get back into the match but finding it difficult to get a ball past the Qatar keeper. In a quick back and forth where a Qatari mistake gave the UAE an opportunity it was Qatar which ended up taking advantage.
Hassan Al Haidos saw the ball bounce through the middle of the field into his path with only the keeper ahead of him and did not hesitate to fake the keeper and then chip the ball over into the net. It was 3-0 in the 81st minute. The fourth goal came in injury time through Hamid Ismail.
It has been a good tournament for Qatar. A team that has played with very few fans in the stadium due to the ban on Qatar citizens visiting the UAE. Much of the support the Qatari’s had was thanks to Omani fans.
Final Match: February 1st 2019 Kick off at 6pm UAE time.