Ali Mabkhout double not enough as UAE bow out of Gulf Cup

Emirates lose 4-2 to hosts Qatar despite Mabkhout extending his national record to 60 goals

UAE's forward Ali Mabkhout (2nd-R) celebrates his goal during the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup Group A football match between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on December 2, 2019. / AFP / KARIM JAAFAR
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UAE put up a brave fight but ultimately bowed out of the Gulf Cup after a 4-2 defeat to Qatar.

Beaten finalists at the last Gulf Cup at the start of 2018, the Emirates failed to negotiate the group stage and return home with a record of one win and two defeats in Group A.

Qatar advanced along with group winners Iraq, while Yemen joined the UAE in exiting the tournament.

An entertaining match saw Abdelkarim Hassan almost give the hosts the lead inside the first five minutes. The marauding left-back took advantage of indecision in the UAE defence to beat goalkeeper Mohamed Al Shamsi to the ball. With the goal temporarily unguarded, the Qatari was left to rue a heavy first touch as the angle narrowed and eventually saw his shot cannon off the post.

The UAE struggled to get a foothold in the game and Al Shamsi was forced into a fine save to deny Almoez Ali's angled shot.

The UAE looked uncomfortable under incessant Qatari pressure and it was no surprise the Asian champions' opening goal came courtesy of a defensive blunder.

Mohammed Marzooq took too long on the ball and his attempted punt up field was charged down by Akram Afif who strode forward to finish through the legs of Al Shamsi.

The lead was doubled on 28 minutes when Qatar were awarded a penalty after a VAR review with Mohammed Barqesh adjudged to have handled the ball on the floor.

Afif stepped up to convert, sending Al Shamsi the wrong way in the process.

But just when it looked as if Qatar would run away with the match, Bert van Marwijk's men were thrown a lifeline. Bandar Mohammed Al-Ahbabi sprinted on to a through ball and was brought down in the area by Saad Al Sheeb, who was shown a yellow card.

Ali Mabkhout took the resulting spot kick, the Al Jazira striker putting sufficient power into his shot to evade Al Sheeb's right hand.

Al Shamsi got his body in the way of a vicious Abdelkarim Hassan drive on the stroke of half time and was called into action just after the interval to deflect Afif's shot onto the crossbar.

Hassan Al-Haydos added a third for Qatar on 53 minutes, with the Emirates again guilty of squandering possession unnecessarily.

Mabkhout reduced the deficit with his second of the match – his 60th for his country – before a towering header from Boualem Khoukhi sealed the match.