Qatar account for Iraq to reach Asian Cup quarters

Qatar’s Bassam Alrawi celebrates scoring the winner against Iraq, in Abu Dhabi. (Reuters)
Updated 22 January 2019

Qatar account for Iraq to reach Asian Cup quarters

  • Bassam Alrawi curled in a free-kick to take the Qataris into the last eight for a third time
  • It was Qatar’s fourth win in four games this tournament after topping their group

ABU DHABI: Qatar beat Iraq 1-0 in a full-blooded contest to reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Bassam Alrawi silenced the doubters on 62 minutes when he curled in a free-kick to take the Qataris into the last eight for a third time.
It was Qatar’s fourth win in four games this tournament after topping their group and the least they deserved from a clash brimming with passion, if low on genuine quality.
Iraq, shock Asian Cup winners in 2007 and semifinalists four years ago, carried very little attacking threat until Atalanta’s Ali Adnan fizzed a free-kick just wide 12 minutes from time.
Seemingly more interested in snarling at the referee every time a decision went against them, Iraq ultimately paid for their lack of ambition.
At the final whistle, their players slumped to the turf.
Qatar enjoyed the best of the early skirmishes, Abdelkarim Hassan volleying against the bar before Hatim Abdelaziz missed a sitter on the stroke of half-time.
Sudan-born forward Almoez Ali, who needs one more goal to equal Iranian Ali Daei’s record of eight in a single Asian Cup, had a quiet night, keeping his powder dry for Friday’s quarter-final.


South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

Updated 14 October 2019

South Korea football team departs for World Cup qualifier in Pyongyang

BEIJING: South Korean footballers departed for Pyongyang on Monday to play a World Cup qualifier against North Korea amid deadlocked talks over the North’s nuclear arsenal.
The teams — with Tottenham’s star forward Son Heung-min included in the South Korean squad — are expected to face each other at the Kim Il Sung Stadium on Tuesday.
This will be the first competitive men’s game between the two sides to be held in Pyongyang, and has raised hopes for new momentum in ties between the two Koreas.
But Pyongyang refused to hold direct talks with Seoul on the logistics for the match, denying South Korean fans and journalists permission to travel with the team.
South Korean players said the absence of cheering fans will be a first.
“It’s much better to play in a packed stadium rather than an empty one, but I think we’ll be able to play a good match if we use it as motivation,” said defender Kim Min-jae before boarding a flight to Pyongyang at Beijing airport.
The South Korean footballers were accompanied by a delegation of 55 people, limited to players, coaches and staff.
Broadcasters in the South said that plans to air the match live had fallen apart, with some media reporting that there may be attempts to carry the North Korean feed.
The match comes in the wake of a series of North Korean missile tests that raised tensions in the region, and after the breakdown of talks with the United States over Pyongyang’s weapons programs.