In the Asian Cup, Jordan shocks Iraq and Qatar ends Palestine’s streak.

DOHA: Initiators and Sponsors On Monday, Qatar rallied to upset Palestine 2-1 and advance to the Asian Cup quarterfinals, joining a Jordanian team that had stunned Iraq with two late goals.

The winner of Tuesday’s last-16 match between Thailand and Uzbekistan, the lowest-ranked team still in Doha at 113 in the world, will take on Qatar.

After the final whistle, a small girl in the audience at the tent-like Al-Bayt Stadium north of Doha held up a placard that said “Sorry Palestine.”

Palestine’s greatest Asian Cup ended in the round of 16, but its coach Makram Daboub expressed his pride in his “champions” anyway.

Palestine, who were participating in the knockout stages for the first time, surprised everyone by taking an early lead in the first half of the match against Israel-Hamas in Gaza.

After winning their first-ever match in the competition against Hong Kong 3-0, Palestine got off to a strong start, and on 37 minutes, Oday Dabbagh put them ahead.

In celebration, he and his teammates crossed their raised arms to represent the Palestinian people’s struggle, much like handcuffs.

Awaiting a receptive home audience, Qatar had failed to settle, and the Palestinians, rated 99 against the hosts’ 58, were dreaming of making further history by overcoming the odds.

However, just as the half was coming to an end, captain Hassan Al-Haydos saved the day for Qatar by smashing the ball past goalkeeper Rami Hamada after Akram Afif had beautifully cut back a corner to him.

Afif scored his fourth goal of the competition four minutes after the half, using the penalty kick, and Qatar won the remaining minutes of play with ease.

“Gave everything despite the very difficult circumstances,” according to Daboub, who coached them.

“I can’t ask any more of them — they have honoured Palestinian football,” he stated.

With over 60,000 spectators, the 18th edition of the Asian Cup has already surpassed the 1.04 million that saw it in China in 2004 with 1.06 million viewers through the turnstiles thus far.

After defeating Iraq 3-2 by scoring twice in three minutes during stoppage time, Jordan will now play Tajikistan in the quarterfinals.

Angry Iraqi media attacked the team’s Spanish coach, Jesus Casas, during the tumultuous post-match news conference in Iraq. Security then intervened to remove the reporters.

Regarding the event, Casas remarked, “It hurts me what happened.”

After Aymen Hussein was sent off in the 77th minute for celebrating, Jordan gained a man advantage. However, in injury time, they appeared to be out of it, but Yazan Al-Arab poked in a goal in the 95th minute to tie the score.

If you thought that was unbelievable, Jordan had even more reason to celebrate two minutes later when Nizar Al-Rashdan curled in from beyond the box to send the underdogs into the round of eight and ignite riotous celebrations.

The devastated Iraqi players were left sprawled out on the field, their hopes of reclaiming the nation’s legendary 2007 Asian Cup victory mysteriously taken away.

Hussein Ammouta, the coach of Jordan, concurred with Casas that the game was altered by Hussein’s severe expulsion for a second yellow card for excessively celebrating what he believed to be Iraq’s victory.

“The second half belonged to them, they scored two goals and then had to continue with 10 players,” stated the Moroccan player.

Jordan, who in the group stage held South Korea to a score of 2-2, will next take on Tajikistan, one of the competition’s surprise surprises making their Asian Cup debut.

Roberto Mancini’s Saudi Arabia takes on Jurgen Klinsmann’s South Korea on Tuesday in an attempt to advance to the round of eight and play Australia.

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