Almoez Ali scores 4 as Qatar advances at Asian Cup
Saudi Arabia, which beat Lebanon 2-0 on Saturday for its second straight victory, will join Qatar in the round of 16 from Group E. Amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries, Qatar and Saudi Arabia meet Thursday in a game which will decide the group winner.
The top two teams in each group and the four best third-placed teams advance to the round of 16.
Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, has been subject to a diplomatic and logistical boycott by regional rivals, including Saudi Arabia, for more than 18 months.
After a goal in the opening 2-0 victory over Lebanon, Qatar star striker Almoez Ali added four more to become the tournament’s leading scorer. He struck twice within two minutes early in the first half to give Qatar a comfortable lead with two more goals in the second half.
Ali has scored nine goals in his last eight games for his country.
Boualem Khoukhi and Abdelkarim Hassan also had a goal apiece for Qatar, which won two opening Asian Cup games for the first time.
In Abu Dhabi, Genki Haraguchi earned the penalty and then converted from the spot in the 28th minute for Japan.
Japan and Uzbekistan meet on Thursday to decide the group’s top spot.