2019 Asian Cup

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Court date set for UAE appeal against Qatar’s Asian Cup win

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GENEVA — A legal challenge by the United Arab Emirates soccer federation that threatens Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup title will be heard at sport’s highest court.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Tuesday it will hear the UAE’s appeal on March 12 in a case that alleges Qatar fielded two ineligible players at the tournament. The Asian Cup was hosted by the UAE during an ongoing diplomatic rift with neighboring Qatar, which will stage the next World Cup in 2022.

A verdict by CAS judges is likely at least several weeks after the hearing in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The ruling could strip Qatar of its biggest success in world soccer, affect key young players in its World Cup planning, and see the UAE inflict an embarrassing loss on a regional political rival.

The UAE filed a complaint with the Asian Football Confederation after a 4-0 loss to Qatar in the Asian Cup semifinals in Abu Dhabi last January.

When an ineligible player case is proven, AFC rules say a team must forfeit the game.

The Asian governing body’s first disciplinary ruling cleared Qatar of wrongdoing hours before beating Japan 3-1 in the final.

UAE officials have appealed to CAS against the Qatar Football Association and the AFC, whose appeal committee also later dismissed the claims of wrongfully submitted documents.

The UAE alleges Qatar’s star forward Almoez Ali and defender Bassam Al-Rawi were not born there and did not meet FIFA nationality requirements to represent the country.

FIFA’s statutes say players can acquire a nationality if they have “lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association.”

Both Ali, who turned 23 since the Asian Cup ended, and Al-Rawi, who is now aged 22, seemed not to meet the five-year residency rule.

However, both reportedly claimed their mothers were born in Qatar – meeting FIFA’s national eligibility standard if a parent or grandparent is born on a territory.

Ali scored against the UAE, and again in the final, for a tournament-leading nine goals. Al-Rawi was suspended for the semifinal but returned to play against Japan.

They are also club teammates at Al-Duhail, runner-up in the Qatari league last season, and fellow graduates of the state-of-the-art Aspire youth academy in Doha which has educated many players born outside of Qatar.

The latest appeal extends difficulties between the soccer neighbors which showed in a heated semifinals game played 20 months into an economic and travel boycott of Qatar by regional political rivals.

After Qatar took a 2-0 lead in Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium – named for the UAE crown prince – players celebrating the goal had to dodge shoes thrown by some spectators.

The UAE soccer body was later fined $150,000 by the AFC for the fans’ misconduct, including the shoe-throwing and disrespecting the Qatari anthem.

The teams met again in Doha five weeks ago, when the UAE and Saudi Arabia agreed to travel to Qatar to play in the Arabian Gulf Cup, won by Bahrain. Qatar beat the UAE 4-2 in a group-stage game.

Qatar stun Japan to win 2019 Asian Cup, first-ever title (video)

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Qatar won its first-ever Asian Cup title, as their fairytale run to the 2019 final ended in glory.

The 93rd-ranked team in the world are officially the best team in Asia.

[ MORE: Latest Asian Cup news ] 

Previously they had never reached the knockout rounds of the tournament, but the side managed by Felix Sanchez Bas only conceded one goal during the two-week long competition in the United Arab Emirates, as they beat Japan 3-1 in the final in Abu Dhabi.

Almoez Ali and Abdulaziz Hatem scored sensational first half goals to secure the trophy, as Ali led the tournament with nine goals and set a new record for the most goals scored in a single Asian Cup.

Akram Afif scored a late penalty kick to make it 3-1 after Minamino halved the deficit amid sustained second half pressure from Japan.

There was drama off the field ahead of the final, though.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was called in by the UAE — the tournament hosts who lost to Qatar at the semifinal stage — regarding an appeal over some of Qatar’s players not being eligible, but the winners were found not guilty of any wrongdoing before kick off.

The underdogs jumped into an early 2-0 lead thanks to a stunning overhead kick goal from Almoez Ali.

Then Abdulaziz Hatem (who scored the winner against South Korea in the quarterfinal) spanked home a wonderful shot from distance to stun Japan.

Try as they might Japan couldn’t claw back the deficit as Minamino made it 2-1 with 22 minutes to go, but that was as good as it got for the Samurai Blue.

Qatar held on as Afif sealed the win from the penalty spot after a controversial spot kick was awarded.

With the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar, this incredible success well and truly marks the arrival of The Maroons on the international stage.

VIDEO: Qatar score amazing goal in Asian Cup final

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Qatar’s Almoez Ali is setting new records and he’s doing it in style.

Ali scored his ninth goal of the 2019 Asian Cup in the final, as he set a new record for the most goals scored by a player in a single Asian Cup tournament.

Not content with a tap in to seal that remarkable record, Ali scored out of nothing.

He controlled a routine cross with his left foot, flicked the ball up to himself with his right and then sent home a bicycle kick to put underdogs Qatar 1-0 up early on.

Click play on the video below to see the amazing strike from Ali.


Asian Cup organizers review UAE complaint on Qatar players

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Throwing Qatar’s appearance in the Asian Cup final in doubt, organizers are investigating a complaint by the United Arab Emirates about the eligibility of two Qatar players from the semifinal.

The complaint adds another layer to Qatar’s politically-charged progress to Friday’s final of the continental soccer showpiece in the UAE, which as a country is part of a quartet boycotting Doha diplomatically and politically.

There was an angry reaction from the home crowd in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday as the UAE was beaten in the semifinal, with shoes thrown at Qatari players after striker Almoez Ali scored the second goal in a 4-0 win.

The UAE soccer federation has now questioned whether Ali, with a tournament-leading tally eight goals, and Bassam Al-Rawi meet FIFA’s requirements to play for the 2022 World Cup host nation.

“The Asian Football Confederation has received a protest from the United Arab Emirates FA regarding the eligibility of two Qatar players,” the governing body said in a statement on Thursday. “This protest will now be reviewed in line with the AFC regulations.”

The ultimate sanction would see Qatar having to forfeit the match. Qatar is due to play Japan on Friday in its first-ever Asian Cup final.

An hour after announcing the review of the complaint into Qatar, the AFC’s newsletter was headlined: “Excitement builds towards a thrilling finale.”

Asian Cup: Qatar routs UAE, amid insults and flying shoes, to reach final

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Amid shoes being thrown in insult, Qatar won its politically charged match against host United Arab Emirates 4-0 Tuesday and advanced to the Asian Cup final.

The Qataris, who will host the World Cup in 2022, have won all six of their matches and have yet to concede a goal — the first country to do that at the continental soccer championship.

Qatar will face four-time champion Japan on Friday in the final. Both teams were invited last year to play at the Copa America in 2019, giving the winner of this week’s match a chance to win a second continental title in July.

A regional boycott of Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia, has impacted the team’s logistics at the Asian Cup and made it difficult for the country’s fans to attend games. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt are also part of the boycott.

The Qataris, however, have denied accusations that they support extremists.

On the soccer field, Qatar beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the group stage before the 4-0 rout of UAE on Tuesday at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium.

Boualem Khoukhi gave Qatar the lead in the 22nd minute, and Almoez Ali doubled the advantage 15 minutes later.

The second goal prompted the UAE fans to start throwing their shoes at the Qatari players, an act which is considered to be an insult.

The Asian Football Confederation said it could launch an investigation.

“Any incident of this nature will be contained in the official match report which will then be investigated by the AFC,” the soccer body said.

Ali’s goal was his eighth of the tournament, equaling the record set by Iran forward Ali Daei in 1996 when the Asian Cup was also hosted by the UAE. The 22-year-old Ali will have a chance to break the record against Japan on Friday.

Qatar added two more goals late in the match, the first from Hasan Al Haydos in the 80th minute and the last from Hamid Ismaeil seconds after coming off the bench with time winding down.

The UAE played the final seconds with 10 men after Ismail Ahmed was sent off for a rough tackle.