1 Our win against UAE is big but now all our focus will be on winning the Asian Cup final against Japan: Almoez Ali Wednesday 30 January 2019 MABROOK AL ANNABI Qatar 4 UAE 0 Qatar clinch historic victory in the second semi-final of the AFC Asian Cup, thrashing UAE 4-0 on their home turf in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. Al Annabi will face Japan in the final on Friday. Boualem Khoukhi, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al Haydos and Hamid Ismail score a goal each in memorable triumph against the arch-rivals. Almoez equals tournament record of most goals with his 8th strike in the event while Qatar claim their sixth consecutive victory, smashing a total of 16 goals without conceding any. Stories on Sport pages 05, 06 and 07
2 05 Qatar s forward Almoez Ali (centre) shoots to score during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup semi-final against UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. Magnificent Almoez equals record tally FAWAD HUSSAIN Qatar s historic performance at the AFC Asian Cup is a result of combined efforts from the entire team but one player deserves a special mention Al Annabi s red-hot striker Almoez Ali, who equalled tournament s record for most goals after firing a stunner against the UAE in yesterday s semi-final. From the first group match against Lebanon till Qatar s memorable 4-0 drubbing over the hosts, Almoez remained a nightmare for the opposition defence in the tournament. In front of sandal-throwing spectators at Abu Dhabi s Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium, the 22-year-old sensation, fired a clinical hit from a long range to score Qatar s second goal in the first half, laying foundation for the famous victory. It was Almoez s eighth goal in the tournament a record equalling tally in Asia s premier event. Another goal in Friday s final against Japan will take the feared striker ahead of Iranian legend Ali Daei, who scored eight goals in the 1996 edition of the tournament. Almoez opened his account against Lebanon in Qatar s 2-0 victory and went on scoring four goals in Al Annabi s 6-0 thrashing over North Korea. The striker scored both the goals in crunch Saudi Arabia match before scoring a crucial goal against the UAE, yesterday. My performance is a result of teamwork and planning of the entire squad. I am very proud to play my role for my country, Almoez said after triumph over the UAE, yesterday. I don t have individual goals as I want to play my part in achievement for the whole country and win big titles for Qatar, he My performance is a result of teamwork. I am very proud to play my role for my country. I don t have individual goals as I want to play my part and win big titles for Qatar. We have an organised set-up in Qatar, facilities in Aspire Academy and on other places are outstanding. That has helped us a lot in preparing ourselves to achieve goals, he said. While Almoez credits team spirit for his success, experienced Portuguese coach Jose Mourinho saw a special talent in the Qatari striker, who also plays for Al Duhail. I think this boy Almoez is agile. He moves fast (and) he is cool in the face of the keeper, said Mourinho, who was in Qatar earlier this month, to give his expert opinion on bein Sports. He plays at an interesting level and who knows in the next couple of years, this boy could be playing in another league so that he becomes more competitive. He is young, he is 180cm (in height) and that s a good size, the popular coach said after Qatar defeated Saudi Arabi 2-0 in their last group match. The objective of this kid is to play. If Qatar wants him to be better, then they need him to be playing in a better league. He is an important player. He needs to go to a competitive league and not playing all the time. That s the balance you have to find, he Japan have played very well in the tournament. They played very well to beat Iran in the first semi-final. Our win against UAE is also big but now all our focus will be on winning the final against a tough side. Almoez said the record will not be in his mind when Qatar face Japan in the final, saying winning the AFC Asian Cup title for Qatar will be his only aim on Friday. Japan have played very well in the tournament. They played very well to beat Iran in the first semi-final, said Almoez. Our win against UAE is also big but now all our focus will be on winning the final against a tough side, the star striker Qatar will enter the final without conceding a single goal from their six consecutive victories in which they scored a total of 16 goals. Hostile atmosphere mars Qatar s big win ABU DHABI A partisan crowd turned hostile yesterday when Qatar thrashed homes side UAE 4-0 to reach the final of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Some 42,000 fans at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium looked downbeat as Qatar fired two goals in each half in what was an electrifying performance from coach Felix Sanchez s side. When Boualem Khoukhi opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, some UAE fans threw water bottles but when Almoez Ali fired a beauty in the 37th, it all turned ugly. UAE fans started throwing footwear and water bottles at Almoez who was stopped from celebrating his record-breaking strike. In the second half, captain Hassan Al Haydos was seemingly hit by a water bottle when the Qatar captain fired his side s third goal. Even UAE players urged Qatari players not to overdo with the celebrations sensing the disgusting behaviour of the home fans. In the dying seconds, substitute Hamid Ismail made it 4-0 for Qatar. After the final whistle, Qatar players were urged to quietly move into the team locker-room whereas Qatar coach Sanchez went about for quick handshakes with the UAE players. Qatar, who had never gone beyond the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup, will now meet Japan in the final of the tournament set for Friday. What happened at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium Fans attending the semi-final boo when Qatar s national anthem was played at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium before the kickoff. Boualem Khoukhi opens the scoring in the 22nd minute and UAE fans start hurling water bottles at Qatar players celebrating the goal. Almoez Ali fires Qatar s second goal in the 37th minute and more bottles and sandals are thrown at the players. After the third goal by Qatar captain Hassan Al Haydos in the 81st minute, midfielder Salem Al Hajri is hit on the head with a bottle missile. UAE defender Ismail Ahmed is shown the red card in stoppage time for an elbow on Al Hajri and more tensions are witnessed at the stadium that has attracted more than 38,000 fans. After the final whistle, Qatar players are urged to leave the pitch with quick handshakes as hostile fans vent frustration at UAE s poor performance. Qatari captain Hassan Al Haydos goes down holding his head after being hit by a water bottle. UAE s goalkeeper Khalid Eisa picks up sandals thrown by the crowd after Almoez Ali scored the second goal for Qatar. Fans throw bottles and flip-flops at the pitch as players take evasive action during the AFC Asian Cup semi-final at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, yesterday.
3 06 WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2019 Triumph in Abu Dhabi as Al Annabi storm into Asian Cup final Jubilant Qatari players celebrate their 4-0 victory over UAE at the end of the AFC Asian Cup semi-final, played at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. Qatar overcame a hostile crowd atmosphere to set up a title clash with four-time champions Japan. Qatar crush UAE ARMSTRONG VAS A scintillating display helped Qatar trounce hosts UAE 4-0 to reach their maiden Asian Cup final. Yesterday, at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, coach Felix Sanchez s side overcame a hostile crowd atmosphere to register a resounding win and set up a title clash with four-time champions Japan. Boualem Khoukhi, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al Haydos and substitute Hamid Ismail were all on target as Qatar became the first team not concede a goal in the opening six matches of the Asian Cup. Qatar, who have now scored 16 goals in six matches without any response, struck twice in each half against UAE to silence the home fans. In the first half, Khoukhi and Ali found their names on the scorers list and on resumption, Al Haydos and Ismail piled up the misery for the home side. Qatar started on a bright note enjoying more ball possession but could not trouble the scorers before the 20-minute mark. The winners attained success in the 22nd minute. Khoukhi s angular shot from the edge of the box broke through the defense of UAE goalkeeper Khalid Eisa and ended in the back of the net, 1-0. There was a pin-drop silence at the stadium and some disappointed fans threw water bottles and slippers at the Qatari players on multiple occasions. Al Annabi added a second one in the 37th minute, which turned out to be a gem of goal from Ali. The speedy Qatari striker s curling effort beat the diving Eisa all ends up. Ali s eighth goal of the tournament took him level with Iranian great Ali Daei for most goals in a single AFC Asian Cup campaign. In the second half, Qatar added a third goal in the 80th minute with Al Haydos getting his name on the scores list, beating the advancing keeper with a gentle chip in an one-toone situation. Qatar completed the humiliation with a fourth goal in injury time. Substitute Ismail, who came in for Akram Afif in the 90th minute, beat the UAE keeper with his right footed try to give Al Annabi a facile win. An eerie of silence enveloped the Stadium with the final whistle with home fans departing in despair while the Qatari players were ushered into the locker room by the security officials. Full credit to Qatar, a solid and professional performance from the men in maroon with Sanchez getting the best from his well drilled side with Al Annabi emerging as worthy winners. However, it was a night to forget for UAE. This is a win for all of Qatar. As I said yesterday, we are technically a much superior side than our rivals. Our boys handled the pressure really well. Our players took control of the match. They were really composed during the match. They dominated the game. Insha Allah (God Willing) we will have a great match against Japan and bring the Asian Cup trophy to Qatar: QFA Secretary General Mansoor Al Ansari Coach Sanchez applauds team s effort AFC ABU DHABI Coach Felix Sanchez yesterday applauded his team s 4-0 win over hosts UAE in the AFC Asian Cup semi-final, saying the last-four clash was a pressure game from the start. Boualem Khoukhi (22), Almoez Ali (37), Hassan Al Haydos (81) and Hamid Ismail (94) Hamid Ismail (second right) celebrates after scoring Qatar s fourth goal with teammates during the Asian Cup semi-final match against UAE in Abu Dhabi yesterday. were the goal heroes as Qatar crushed UAE in a battle that was marred by poor crowd disturbances. I am happy for Qatar players and the team officials. I am very proud of our performances. Let me tell you everyone has worked so hard for this, Sanchez said after the match at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium. I congratulate the people of Qatar on this great show, he I am sure they are happy and celebrating. It was an extremely difficult game. We did not feel comfortable at the beginning but we scored two brilliants goals in the first half, he Then we put pressure and added two more goals. That s how we achieved success today. The (unruly) situation was not easy to handle in general. Fortunately there were no problems and our players acted professionally, Sanchez said about the crowd disturbances. There may have been a number of (UAE) players who behaved in an inappropriate manner but everybody feels in such certain situations, Sanchez said on Tuesday. We were aware of the pressure from the fans and we were able to deal well with this pressure, Sanchez said. For the next game we will get back Bassam and Hatem. We need to evaluate our players during the next two days. It is not ideal situation for a championship title match but we have to deal with it, Sanchez said. Now we will take stock and prepare for the final (against Japan) on Friday, he It is obvious that not conceding goals gives us the opportunity to attack and that was great commitment from my players. In six matches, we have not conceded goals and that shows great concentration from our backline, the Qatar coach
4 07 The victorious Qatari players and officials pose for a photograph with the President of Qatar Football Association (QFA) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani in Abu Dhabi, yesterday. QFA Vice President Saud Al Mohannadi, Khalid Al Kuwari, Director of Marketing and Communication, QFA, and Ali Salat, the team s media chief in Abu Dhabi, are also seen. Qatar rejoices after emphatic win! Fans at Souq Waqif celebrate Qatar s 4-0 victory against UAE yesterday. PIC: QASSIM RAHMATULLAH/. Hamid Ismail and Qatar captain Hassan Al Haydos celebrate the fourth and final goal against UAE during the AFC Asian Cup semi-final match yesterday. Skipper Hassan Al Haydos (centre) scores past UAE s goalkeeper Khalid Eisa Mohamed during yesterday s semi-final played in Abu Dhabi. Al Haydos got his name on the scorer s list in the 80th minute, beating the advancing keeper with a gentle chip in a one-to-one situation. Defender Hamid Ismail scores Qatar s fourth goal yesterday. Substitute Ismail, who came in for Akram Afif in the 90th minute, beat the UAE keeper with a right-footed drive to give Al Annabi a convincing win. Skipper Hassan Al Haydos celebrates after scoring Qatar s third goal.
5 04 I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London on Monday morning... feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain. British tennis great Andy Murray tells his Instagram followers after hip resurfacing surgery in London. FOOTBALL Premier League: Liverpool vs Leicester City TODAY S ACTION CRICKET :5th ODI Pakistan vs South Africa T20 World Cup: Pakistan, India placed in separate groups AGENCIES DUBAI Bitter rivals Pakistan and India will not meet in the group stage of the T20 World Cup under the draw announced yesterday for next year s event in Australia. Both India and Pakistan have faced each other in five ICC tournaments since 2011 and will also meet again in the 50-over World Cup in England later this year. The present T20 rankings have placed Pakistan and India in two different groups at the T20 World Cup. Pakistan is ranked No. 1 and India is ranked No. 2. England and Australia are also in separate groups. England is in Group B, which also features India, South Africa, T20 WORLD CUP DRAW Women s group stages (Feb 21 - March 3) Group A: Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Qualifier 1 Group B: England, West Indies, South Africa, Pakistan, Qualifier 2 Semi-finals: March 5 Final: March 8 Men s qualifiers: October Group stages (October 24 - November 8) Group 1: Pakistan, Australia, West Indies, New Zealand, two qualifiers Group 2: India, England, South Africa, Afghanistan, two qualifiers Semi-finals: November 11 and 12 Final: November 15 Afghanistan and the two qualifiers. Australia is in Group A with Pakistan, West Indies, New Zealand and the two qualifying teams. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh finished ninth and 10th respectively in the T20 rankings. They will play in a qualifying round, from which four teams will advance to the Super 12 stage in Australia. The top eight teams qualify directly. Pakistan will open the tournament against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on October 24. On the same day India plays South Africa in Perth. Sydney and Adelaide will host the two semifinals on November 11 and 12, respectively. The final is set for November 15 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The women s final will be played on March 8 to coincide with International Women s Day, and the men s final will be held on November 15. Indian captain Virat Kohli (centre) plays a shot as Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed (right) and Babar Azam react during the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, in this file photo. Fans will not be able to watch Pakistan and India squaring off in group stage of T20 World Cup next year. England ponder changes after Barbados thrashing ICC urges SL to come clean on corruption REUTERS ANTIGUA A year in which England will host the World Cup and the Ashes started in the worst possible way with an emphatic 381-run defeat by West Indies in Barbados and they face major selection choices for the second Test in Antigua starting tomorrow. For West Indies, led by one of the game s most exciting talents in all-rounder Jason Holder, the contest at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, offers a chance to prove they are a team on the rise -- capable of more than just occasional triumphs. For all the focus on England s decision to play two spinners and leave out experienced seamer Stuart Broad, the fact remains that England s loss was caused by a shocking first-innings batting effort as they were skittled out for a paltry 77. Concerns over England s batting increased when part-time spinner Roston Chase took eight wickets in the second innings. Questions are being asked of England s left-handed opener Keaton Jennings who is struggling again after showing his capabilities with a century in Sri Lanka in November. It would be a surprise, however, if England s selectors decided to immediately jettison him for 32-year-old back-up Joe Denly but Jennings will again be under pressure to show he merits that faith. Jennings will need to show real toughness to rise to the challenge but that is a quality former skipper Michael Vaughan feels the team is lacking. They do not have the mental strength to fight through tough England s Joe Root looks dejected after being caught out during first Test against the West Indies in Barbados, in this January 26, 2019, file photo. sessions by working hard and forcing bowlers into their third or fourth spells. They are fine when they bowl a team out or make a big score batting first themselves but poor when they are under a little bit of pressure, Vaughan wrote in his Daily Telegraph column. Vaughan pointed the finger firmly at Jennings and is worried he won t be able to handle Holder s pace attack. Keaton Jennings is a good player against spin but every time he faces pace I shut my eyes. He does not know where his off stump is and, as an opening batsman, that is your number one task, he said. Broad is likely to return to the attack but it is far from clear who will drop out and with Antigua possibly friendly to spin, Joe Root may still need to keep two slow bowlers. The mood in the home camp is buoyant, after all there have only been two other occasions when the West Indies won a Test by bigger margins by runs. They defeated England by 425 runs in Manchester in 1976 and crushed Australia by 408 runs in Adelaide in While the results of the Caribbean side remain well below the standards they once set, there are signs they may be turning the corner -- the victory in Barbados was their eighth win in their last 21 Tests. Those victories include two against England and Pakistan and one against Sri Lanka but Holder, now ranked as the world s top Test all-rounder, knows there have been plenty of false dawns for his team. We ve still got a long way to go. One Test match doesn t make a summer, he said. We ve been in this position before, so lots of hard work to be done. AFP COLOMBO The International Cricket Council has urged Sri Lanka s scandal-ridden sporting community to come forward with information about corruption before an amnesty expires or risk expulsion from the game. Sri Lankan cricket has been mired in corruption allegations in recent years, including claims of match fixing ahead of an international Test against I would request the cricket fraternity to come forward and share any other information concerning corrupt conduct or approaches in the strictest of confidence: ICC s Anti-corruption Chief Alex Marshall England last year, and the sport s world governing body is in the middle of a major inquiry into the island nation. The ICC said it had received a positive response after granting a 15-day amnesty this month for players, coaches or anyone else linked to the sport to come clean, free of the threat of punishment. ICC s Anti-corruption Chief Alex Marshall said new cases had come to light and urged others to come forward before the amnesty expires tomorrow. In the final few days, I would request the cricket fraternity to come forward and share any other information concerning corrupt conduct or approaches in the strictest of confidence, he said in a statement. Those who refuse to share information with ICC investigators could face five-year bans if caught. The ICC considers Sri Lanka the world s most corrupt cricketing nation, Sri Lankan sports minister Harin Fernando said last month. Australia captain Hewitt slams Davis Cup changes AP ADELAIDE Australia captain Lleyton Hewitt is not happy about the new format beginning this year for the Davis Cup. Hewitt called the new setup ridiculous yesterday and ripped into former Barcelona soccer star Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos investment group has been involved with the revamp. Hewitt says now we re getting run by a Spanish football player, which is like me come out and asking to change things for the Champions League. He knows nothing about tennis. Australia faces Bosnia-Herzegovina beginning on Friday with the winner moving to the 18-team final in November in Madrid. The move was made to streamline the competition in a congested tennis schedule. Hewitt adds: I don t agree at all with it. I think having the finals in one place is ridiculous. I personally don t think all the top players will play. We will wait and see. Murray undergoes surgery in London AFP LONDON Andy Murray has undergone hip resurfacing surgery in London, the British tennis great told his Instagram followers yesterday. The two-time Wimbledon champion had been weighing up the pros and cons of the operation, which involves putting a metal plate into the joint, in one last bid to prolong a career plagued by injury. The 31-year-old double Olympic gold medallist had previously said ahead of this month s Australian Open earlier that he intended to retire following the 2019 edition of Wimbledon. I underwent a hip resurfacing surgery in London yesterday (Monday) morning... feeling a bit battered and bruised just now but hopefully that will be the end of my hip pain, Murray said on Instagram. There are no guarantees that the operation will allow Murray to play top-flight tennis again but it should enable him to live a pain-free life off the court. At the Australian Open, Murray showed his competitive spirit and talent were undimmed in a fiveset defeat by Roberto Bautista-Agut. That match led Murray to say he would do all he could to prolong his career but Monday s operation may mean he is not fit in time for Wimbledon, where he had thought of making his farewell to tennis. Monday s operation was the second time Murray had undergone surgery in the past 12 months after a first operation failed to ease the pain in his hip. Andy Murray Ahead of this latest bout of surgery, Murray spoke to US doubles specialist Bob Bryan, who has just returned to the game following the same procedure last year. B r y a n urged Murray to have similar surgery, although the greater physical demands of singles compared to doubles, mean there is no guarantee this operation could help the British tennis great to regain a place among the world s top players. Dr Edwin Su, who operated on Bryan, though, told Britain s Mail on Sunday: I think it would absolutely be able to help him. Ideally, it is with no pain. Most of the time, right away from the time they wake up from the surgery, patients say that the pain is gone. Su, however, added: What is unknown in elite athletes is whether they can return to sport...singles is much more strenuous than doubles.