Qatar soared to its first AFC Asian Cup final thanks to a 4-0 drubbing of host United Arab Emirates at Abu Dhabi's Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on Tuesday.
UAE had the benefit of greater backing in the stands, yet on the pitch a well-organised Qatar made the most of its chances and then held firm at the back, continuing its impressive run of not conceding a single goal in the tournament this far.
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A poor goalkeeping display from Khalid Eisa allowed Qatar to take the lead through Boualem Khoukhi, but the side's second was a moment of brilliance from tournament top-scorer Almoez Ali, who grabbed his eighth goal to extend his team's advantage.
Due to its desperate situation, UAE unsurprisingly spent most of the second half on top, but Qatar remained solid defensively and late goals from Hasan Al Haydos and Hamid Ismaeil emphatically booked its place in Friday's final with Japan.
The lively Qatar deservedly went ahead in the 22nd minute when Boualem darted up the right flank and finished into the bottom-far corner from just inside the area, with goalkeeper Eisa allowing the ball to squirm beneath him.
Eisa was given little chance for Qatar's second, however, as Almoez sent a fine curling effort in off the bottom of the right-hand post with 37 minutes on the clock.
Qatar eventually put the game beyond its opponents nine minutes from time - Hasan producing an exquisite dinked finish to beat Eisa when in the clear, with the goal followed by UAE fans throwing numerous bottles and shoes at the players as they celebrated.
Things got even worse for UAE in stoppage time, as Ismail Ahmed was shown a straight red for swinging an elbow into the face of Salem Al Hajri, while Hamid made it 4-0 soon after, netting on the break.
What does it mean? An historic final awaits
Whatever happens in Friday's final, history beckons for both teams. While Qatar will be aiming to win the Asian Cup for the first time, Japan is looking to claim an an unprecedented fifth title.
Almoez strikes again
One of the standout performers at the tournament, Almoez was influential once again on Tuesday. Not only did he add another to his impressive tally, but the goal itself was excellent. He was a little quieter after half-time as UAE pushed forward, though that should take nothing away from the prolific striker.
UAE rues Eisa slip-up
Although Qatar looked the better side early on, it did not properly threaten until its 22nd-minute goal, which Eisa was culpable for. His feeble attempt at a save saw the ball scramble under him, leaving UAE with an uphill struggle.
Qatar heads into the AFC Asian Cup 2019 final to face record champion Japan, but it is the end of the line for UAE, with its involvement on home soil over.
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