Six-star Qatar crush Yemen in Gulf Cup
Doha: Abdelkarim Hassan scored a hat-trick, including an unstoppable long-ranger, as Asian champions Qatar finally got going in the Gulf Cup and it proved too much for a hapless Yemen who were handed a 6-0 thrashing at Khalifa International Stadium on Friday.
The victory took Qatar’s goal difference to +5 and they just need a draw against UAE in the final group match on Monday to book their place in the semifinal.
The result also meant that Iraq, who defeated UAE in the opening match on Monday, became the first team to progress into the last four of the competition.
Felix Sanchez-coached Qatar were under pressure after the opening-day defeat to Iraq but they responded brilliantly to the challenge.
Yemen had tried to unsettle the hosts by closing them down quickly at the start but once Abdulkarim Hassan opened the scoring in the 29th minute it was an out and out Qatar show.
Besides Hassan, Almoez Ali and substitute Abdullah Alahrak both scored stunners while Akram Afif, who is playing in a slightly withdrawn role than he is used to, also helped himself with a goal.
Qatar had 72 per cent possession, most of it in the opposition half, 20 shots with 11 on target while Yemen did not manage even a single attempt on goal.
But it was not that easy at the start for Al Annabi.
They were missing plenty of chances, and when Abdulaziz Hatem injured his shoulder and went out the mood had become slightly sombre, before Abdulkarim Hassan lifted it in the 29th after a mistake from Yemen’s Nasser Ahmed.
Karim Boudiaf, who came in for Hatem rose high and headed down Afif’s corner into the six-yard box where Ahmed failed to clear it properly allowing a lurking Hassan to toe-poke the ball home.
Qatar continued to miss chances with Boualem Khoukhi failing to hit the target from close range but it did not matter as Hassan launched a left-footed rocket from 30 yards out that swerved and beat Salem Abdullah in Yemen goal in the 36th minute.
It was 3-0 in the 58th as Almoez reproduced a bit of his magic from the Asian Cup and volleyed a left-footer home after playing a one-two with Afif.
Hassan completed his hat-trick in the 72nd minute from the penalty spot after Ismail Mohamed’s cross hit Nasser Ahmed on the hand.
Though Ali Shaban of Kuwait pointed to the spot, there was a bit of delay for the VAR review, but the referee stood by his decision and Afif who had the ball handed it to Hassan to complete his hat-trick. The Al Sadd left-back, voted AFC player last season, sent another rocket right through the middle to make it 4-0 and celebrated with his team-mates.
Qatar were far from as finished Abdullah Alahrak scored a stunner, a right-footer from outside the box into the top corner, to make it 5-0 in the 85th before Afif wrapped it up in style in the 89th.