Group A: Qatar beat UAE to seal semis spot, Iraq finish top
Doha: Akram Afif celebrated being named the 2019 AFC Player of the Year by scoring twice as Qatar defeated United Arab Emirates 4-2 to seal a place in the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup.
Qatar, however, finished second in Group A after Iraq drew 0-0 with Yemen to secure top spot on seven points. Qatar collected six points from their wins over Yemen and UAE, having lost 2-1 to Iraq in their opener.
Qatar will play Group B winners Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals on Thursday while Iraq will face Bahrain.
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Qatar 4-2 UAE
Despite only needing a draw to advance to the semi-finals, Qatar pushed forward from the start and nearly opened the scoring in the fifth minute but Abdelkarim Hassan was denied by the woodwork while Almoez Ali's shot was blocked by UAE goalkeeper Mohammed Al Shamsi on 18 minutes.
Qatar's persistence paid off two minutes later as Afif capitalised on a mistake by Mohammed Marzooq to slot the ball past Al Shamsi.
Named the 2019 AFC Player of the Year earlier on Monday, Afif scored his second from the penalty spot five minutes later after Mohammed Al Menhali handled the ball inside the area.
UAE were awarded a penalty of their own in the 31st minute after Bandar Al Ahbabi was fouled inside the area, with Ali Mabkhout converting to bring his side back into the match.
Afif was denied his hat-trick by the woodwork three minutes into the second half but Qatar added their third goal in the 53rd minute after Hassan Al Haydos completed an exchange of passes with Ali.
UAE pulled themselves back into the tie again in the 77th minute with the in-form Mabkhout firing home his fifth goal of the tournament.
Qatar, however, sealed the win in added time through Boualem Khoukhi.
Yemen 0-0 Iraq
Iraq secured a gritty draw with Yemen despite going down to 10 men in the eighth minute after Mustafa Mohammad was sent off for a foul on Ayman Al Hajri.
Despite the one-man disadvantage, Iraq created the better chances and Alaa Mhawi shot just wide in the 22nd minute.
There was another chance for Iraq at the half-hour mark but Ali Faez's free-kick was stopped by Yemen goalkeeper Mohammed Ayash while Ahmed Sadeq's shot went wide at the other end four minutes before the break.
Yemen's performance improved in the second period and they thought they had opened the scoring in the 58th minute through Abdulwasea Al Matari but the referee, assisted by VAR, ruled out the goal for a foul on one of the Iraqi players in the buildup.
Iraq had opportunities towards the end, with Mhawi denied by Ayash in the 88th minute, who then stopped Ali Faez's header in stoppage time.
Group A: Qatar 4-2 UAE; Yemen 0-0 Iraq
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