Asian Cup organizers review UAE complaint on Qatar players

Qatar’s forward Hasan Al Haydos (C) is marked by United Arab Emirates’ forward Ismaeil Al Junaibi (L) and United Arab Emirates’ midfielder Ali Salmeen during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup semifinal football match between Qatar and UAE at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 29, 2019. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)
Updated 31 January 2019
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Asian Cup organizers review UAE complaint on Qatar players

  • The UAE lost 4-0 in Tuesday's semifinal against Qatar
  • Qatar will face Japan in the Asian Cup Final on Friday

ABU DHABI: Asian Cup hosts the UAE have protested the eligibility of two Qatari players on the eve of Qatar's appearance in Friday's final against Japan.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed to AFP on Thursday that it was investigating the case brought by the Emirati football association against the 2022 World Cup hosts.
The UAE's decision to appeal to organizers comes after Qatar thrashed the hosts 4-0 in a stormy semifinal.
According to media reports, the players in question are striker Almoez Ali, who has scored a record-equalling eight goals at the tournament, and defender Bassam Al-Rawi.
Ali, 22, is of Sudanese descent, while 21-year-old Al-Rawi was born in Iraq.
"The Asian Football Confederation has received a protest from the UAE FA regarding the eligibility of two Qatar players," an AFC spokesman told AFP.
"This protest will now be reviewed in line with the AFC regulations."
Qatar could potentially have to forfeit the match and be ordered to pay a fine, under the AFC's Disciplinary and Ethics Code.
The AFC also has the power to exclude teams from a future competition if the ineligibility is discovered after a tournament, the document says.
Their Spanish coach Feliz Sanchez insisted there was no issue.
"I'm not concerned at all," shrugged the Spaniard, after AFC moderators had tried in vain to block press conference questions on the issue.
"All the players are working with us, so no worries.
"We're very isolated (at the hotel) and we're not looking for any outside discussion," he added. "This team doesn't need any extra motivation — to play an Asian Cup final is enough motivation."
Iran made a similar protest against an Iraqi player they claimed was ineligible at the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia, which was rejected by the AFC.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).