DOHA: A hat-trick from Khalfan Ibrahim helped Qatar boost their chances of qualifying for the AFC 2015 Asian Cup after thrashing 10-man Yemen in a comprehensive 6-0 victory in the qualifier at Al Gharafa Stadium yesterday.
A treble from Ibrahim (4, 61, 76) and strikes from Hasan Al Haydos (23), Sebastian Soria (70) and Ali Afif (90+1) helped Qatar cruise. Qatar now sit in second position behind Bahrain in Group D on goal difference having played a game more.
Qatar coach Fahad Thani was satisfied with the victory.
After yesterday’s match, he said: “First I would like to congratulate our fans and congratulate Qatar on the win. We thank everyone for the support. The team played very well tonight and we played to win this match, but you all know how football is unpredictable. We trained very hard for this match and planned our tactics well.”
He added: “I expected the players to play better even though we won the match, however, I’m satisfied with the result nonetheless. We will train even harder for the upcoming matches.”
Qatar scored their first goal courtesy of a penalty by Ibrahim in the fourth minute. Yemen’s Mohammed Karam conceded a penalty after harshly challenging Hameed Ismaeil.
The Yemen players showed their frustration at Uzbekistan’s referee Valantin Kovalenko.
With Ismaeil needing medical treatment, Khalfan was made to wait, but kept his cool to convert the penalty with a sweet shot beating Yemen’s Saleem Saeed right hand.
The hosts raised their game and in the 16th minute, Ibrahim went agonisingly close after seeing his shot outside the penalty go wide of Saeed’s post.
Qatar used the width of the pitch to press forward and were more likely to score the next goal than their opponents.
The visitors had to wait until the 18th minute when Tamer Hakash had his side’s first shot on target.
Qatar soon doubled their lead following a slick move when Mohamed El Sayed was found in acres of space on the left hand side, and the winger slotted the ball to Al Haydos, who beat his marker and put the ball into the back of the net in the 23rd minute.
Yemen missed a glorious opportunity to reduce the deficit in the 36th minute when Hakash shot wide from inside the six yard box.
Yemen’s task of getting back into the match got even harder when the visitors were reduced to 10 men shortly before half-time.
Essam Al Worafi was shown a straight red card after a challenge on defender Bilal Mohammed in the 41st minute.
The Qatari defender won the ball but Al Worafi was always going to be second, and his boot caught Mohammed’s knee which resulted in Kovalenko showing a red card.
After the break, Qatar maintained their superiority by winning balls in the middle of the park, closing down players and attacking and defending well.
It was no surprise that in the 55th minute, Fahad’s side enjoyed 68 per cent of possession as opposed to Yemen’s 32.
Fahad, who said in the pre-match press conference that he had the ‘confidence’ in his players to do well in this match, saw his side go 3-0 up when Ibrahim grabbed his second goal of the match.
Another slick move consisting of short passes and one-ball moves paved the way for Ismaeil whose high ball found Soria, who headed the ball to Ibrahim.
With the ball behind him, the Al Sadd striker, who was watched by club team-mate Raul in the stands, timed his move well to connect the ball and used his neck muscles to power the ball into the back of the net in the 61st minute.
Soria made it 4-0 when he picked up a well-timed pass from a team-mate and unleashed a shot under Saeed’s body.
Burhan was rarely called into action in the second half as Qatar grew dominant throughout the match.
Ibrahim netted his hat-trick when Al Haydos passed the ball to the Al Sadd striker and last season’s Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) Player of the Year slotted the ball past Saeed.
There was still time for another goal as Afif made it 6-0 with a beautiful curling free-kick before the final whistle was blown in front of 11,920 fans at Al Gharafa
Stadium. THE PENINSULA