Qatar’s Almoez Ali wrote his name into history during his side’s 4-0 semi-final win over the United Arab Emirates, scoring a tournament record-equalling eighth goal at the Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium here yesterday.
The 37th-minute strike means the 22-year-old joins Iran’s Ali Daei as the most prolific scorer in a single edition of the competition, a mark established in the 1996 Finals, which were also held in the UAE.
Ali’s historic strike was his eighth in six matches in the UAE, and follows the six-goal haul which saw him claim the top scorer award at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.
Yeseterday’s goal was one to savour, as Ali collected the ball 35 yards from goal, before driving towards the Emirati penalty area and unleashing a searing low drive which gave goalkeeper Khalid Eisa no chance.
It was also a crucial moment in the semi-final, giving Felix Sanchez’s side a 2-0 lead on the verge of half-time, a lead they never looked likely to relinquish on the way to their first-ever AFC Asian Cup final.
While the record is shared between stars of two generations for now, Ali will have the chance to claim the honour for himself should he find the net once more in Friday’s decider, to be played against Japan at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City Stadium.
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2019