Almoez Ali scores four as Qatar thrash North Korea to reach 2019 Asian Cup last-16


The National

Qatar striker Almoez Ali scored a record-equalling four goals to lead his side to a 6-0 thrashing of North Korea and into the 2019 Asian Cup knockout stages on Sunday.

Ali scored the first two of Qatar's goals at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium in Al Ain, opening the scoring after nine minutes , before adding a second just two minutes later.

Boualem Khoukhi then ensured Qatar were firmly in control at half-time by scoring a header two minutes before the interval.

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More from Asian Cup:

Football the new cricket, says India's Constantine ahead of clash with Bahrain

Juan Antonio Pizzi backs Hatan Bahbri to get even better for Saudi Arabia

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There was little respite for North Korea after the break, with Ali the chief tormentor once again. The 22-year-old Sudan-born forward completed his hat-trick on 55 minutes and added his record-matching finish five minutes later after completing a sweeping counter-attack.

Ali joins three other players from three separate tournaments - Ali Daei for Iran in 1996, Bahrain’s Ismaeel Abdullatif in 2011, and Hamza Al Dardour of Jordan in 2015 - by scoring four goals in a single Asian Cup game.

After his goal during Qatar's opening win against Lebanon, Ali leads the tournament's scoring charts with five goals.

Ali may have finished his goal-scoring exploits for the day, but he then turned provider by setting up Abdelkarim Hassan for Qatar's sixth.

North Korea were then reduced to 10 men during injury time when Jong Il-Gwan was shown his second yellow card.

The win guarantees Qatar's progress to the last-16 alongside Saudi Arabia. The two sides face each other in the final round of Group E fixtures on Thursday at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Qatar currently lead the standings on goal difference.

Meanwhile, North Korea face Lebanon at the same time at Sharjah Stadium, with both sides seeking their first points.

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