Khalfan Ibrahim struck a hat-trick as Qatar thrashed sorry Yemen 6-0 in their 2015 Asian Cup qualifier at the Al Gharafa Stadium yesterday.
The Qatari forward scored his team’s first, third and fifth goals in handing Yemen their third straight defeat in Group D, a position that for all practical purposes ends the troubled nation’s campaign to qualify for the tournament in Australia. Hassan al-Haydos, Sebastian Soria and Ali Hussain Afif completed the tally.
Qatar’s superiority was never in doubt even though they gave the impression they were playing a few notches below their potential, perhaps in self-preservation, with an eye on the long season ahead.
Yemen, under new coach Sami Naash and dealing with political trouble back home, hardly had a close look at the Qatari goal.
They fell behind as early as in the fourth minute when Khalfan scored from the spot with a crisp shot after Hamid Ismail was brought down in the penalty area. A few minutes later, Khalfan drilled a shot just wide of the goal before al-Haydos consolidated in the 24th minute with a neat finish from close. Yemen somehow prevented more damage in the remainder of the first session but the floodgates opened 15 minutes after resumption.
Khalfan scored his second goal in the 61st minute with a low header after Soria had headed the ball to him from the right corner of the penalty area.
Soria then found the net on his own, finishing off an Adel Lamy pass down the centre in the 70th minute, and Khalfan completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish off a measured pass from al-Haydos. Afif then sealed the match with a cracking free-kick in the 90th minute.
“We were confident about beating Yemen, but in the end it was all too easy,” said Qatar coach Fahd Thani.
“The boys combined well. Khalfan is always a dangerous player who will punish the slightest of mistakes. He was excellent today.”
Yemen coach Naash gave credit to Qatar. “They were better than Qatar in all departments of the game. Obviously we have a lot of catching up to do.”
The victory takes Qatar’s tally to six points from three matches, one of which they lost, to Bahrain. The top two teams in each group qualify for the Asian Cup.Last updated:
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