Doha, Qatar – Asian champions Qatar have beaten the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 4-2 in an action-packed match to advance to the semi-finals of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup.

Newly crowned Asian player of the year Akram Afif, 22, scored twice in the first half to put the hosts in front at a crammed Khalifa International Stadium, before Emirati forward Ali Mabkhout converted a penalty to reduce the UAE’s deficit to 1-2.

Eight minutes into the second half, captain Hassan al-Haydous restored Qatar’s two-goal lead until the 77th minute when Mabkhout found the net again with a powerful strike to a muted response from the partisan crowd. But there was no last-minute drama as Boualem Khoukhi sealed Qatar’s win in injury time, sparking huge celebrations among the home team and supporters. 

A total of 43,780

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