News ID: 238173
Published: 0329 GMT January 30, 2019

Records not history man Ali's priority

Records not history man Ali's priority

After making history by equaling Ali Daei's longstanding record for most goals in an AFC Asian Cup, Qatar striker Almoez Ali immediately turned his attention to Friday's final against Japan.

Ali, who was born four months before Daei set the record in the 1996 edition of the tournament, drew level with the Iranian legend eight minutes before half time, scoring superbly from the edge of the penalty area to put his side 2-0 up against the UAE, reported.

Speaking to after his side's eventual 4-0 win, the in-form Al Duhail front man expressed his joy, before turning his attention to the tournament decider.

"I wasn’t thinking about equaling Ali Daei’s record," he said. "No, I just left it to fate, and thankfully I managed to score a goal and bring joy to my parents, the Qatari people and my teammates.

"This is what I was thinking about, to score for the fans and I did it. Now we have to focus on the next match and study Japan very well."

Ali's eighth goal was memorable for its historical significance, but it was also a beauty, as he delivered an inch-perfect curling low drive across Khalid Eisa and in off the bottom of the right upright.

Understandably, it was a goal the pacey hitman was delighted to score, but he insisted he remains focused on bigger things.

"Of course, I was really happy with the goal," he said. "It was a beautiful strike, but it means nothing, because our objectives are bigger than just scoring a beautiful goal.

"I have to keep my head down and work so I can reach my objectives."

Beyond Ali's individual achievement, the match will be remembered as the night Qatar stormed into its first-ever continental final, with Boualem Khoukhi, Hassan al-Haydos and Hamid Ismaeil also getting on the scoresheet for Felix Sanchez's rampant side.

Qatar has maintained a perfect winning record, becoming the first team in tournament history to keep clean sheets in the first six matches of the tournament in the process.

Ali took a moment to take in the achievements of a national team which lost all three matches in Australia 2015, before refocusing his gaze to the challenges ahead.

"I would like to congratulate the Qatari people back home who supported us since the start of the tournament and my teammates who gave their all on the pitch and proved their worth," he beamed.

"We achieved a dream of all Qataris, and hopefully we will do even better in the future."

"We don’t look at the statistics: You could win 1-0 today and lose 3-0 tomorrow. Everything we did so far is one thing, but what’s coming up is more important.

"The final needs patience, so if we are patient, play well and forget about everything we did so far, only then will we win the final."


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