AFC to probe UAE shame; Qatar fans call for tough punishment
January 31 2019 12:15 AM
Qatari players
UAE fans threw shoes and water bottles among other things at Qatari players during the former’s 0-4 loss in the AFC Asian Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

Agencies/Abu Dhabi

Asia’s football body promised a “thorough investigation” yesterday after the United Arab Emirates’ turbulent Asian Cup semi-final loss to arch-rivals Qatar, during which fans hurled shoes and bottles.
Many have also called for UAE to be punished for their supporters’ behaviour and for its failure to protect the Qatari team.
“UAE fans threw shoes at Qatari players. They started off the game with booing national anthem. International bodies should reconsider giving UAE the chance to host reputed sporting events,” wrote Twitter user Olivia Thomas.
Qatar fan Arwa al-Mansoori said football governing body FIFA and the AFC had to punish the Emirati authorities for the crowd’s behaviour.
“We demand penalties for the disrespectful and uncivilised action from the UAE fans towards the Qatari team. What happened to our team is not acceptable!” she wrote alongside a video of a Qatari player being struck by a shoe on his chest.
Plastic water bottles pelted the turf and several shoes were hurled, an Arab insult, as Qatar celebrated the second goal in Tuesday’s 4-0 rout of the tournament hosts in Abu Dhabi.
Akram Afif twice had to delay taking a corner as objects rained down, and Salem al-Hajri was struck on the head after Qatar’s third goal. One plastic bottle struck the crossbar behind Qatari goalkeeper Saad al-Sheeb.
“The AFC (Asian Football Confederation) is conducting a thorough investigation into events at the (semi-final),” a spokesman told AFP.
“Once the investigation has been completed the AFC will decide on the appropriate steps.”
The defeat was deeply embarrassing for the UAE, who are in the midst of a stand-off with Qatar.
Abu Dhabi authorities bought thousands of spare tickets and handed out them out to fans with Emirati identification, meaning the 42,000-capacity Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium was nearly unanimously behind the home team.
Loud booing and whistling also drowned out the Qatari anthem before the game, which Qatar — who will host the World Cup in 2022 — dominated to reach their first Asian Cup final.
“Everybody knows about the problems but we don’t care — we just play football,” Qatar defender Pedro Correia told AFP.
“Let the people talk, winning 4-0 is more important.”
Qatar coach Coach Felix Sanchez said the last-four clash was a ‘pressure game’ from the start.
Boualem Khoukhi, Almoez Ali, Hassan al-Haydos and Hamid Ismail were the goal heroes as Qatar crushed UAE.
“I am happy for Qatar players and the team officials. I am very proud of our performances. Let me tell you everyone has worked so hard for this,” Sanchez said after the match.
“I congratulate the people of Qatar on this great show,” he added. “I am sure they are happy and celebrating. It was an extremely difficult game. We did not feel comfortable at the beginning but we scored two brilliants goals in the first half,” he added.
“Then we put pressure and added two more goals. That’s how we achieved success today.
“The (unruly) situation was not easy to handle in general. Fortunately there were no problems and our players acted professionally,” Sanchez said about the crowd disturbances.”
Sanchez, however, also sounded sympathetic towards the UAE players.
“There may have been a number of (UAE) players who behaved in an inappropriate manner but everybody feels in such certain situations,” Sanchez said.
“We were aware of the pressure from the fans and we were able to deal well with this pressure,” Sanchez said.
“For the next game we will get back Bassam al-Rawi and Abdulaziz Hatim. We need to evaluate our players during the next two days. It is not ideal situation for a championship title match but we have to deal with it,” Sanchez said.
“Now we will take stock and prepare for the final (against Japan) on Friday,” he added.
“It is obvious that not conceding goals gives us the opportunity to attack and that was great commitment from my players. In six matches, we have not conceded goals and that shows great concentration from our backline.”

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