The Qatari team has beaten both Saudi Arabia and the UAE on its way to the final of the Asian Cup football tournament.
Qatar has beaten the United Arab Emirates 4-0 to reach the final of the Asian Cup.
In a display of unsportsmanlike conduct, the game descended into chaos as UAE fans threw bottles, shoes and sandals at Qatari players during the match.
What’s more, the Qatar national anthem was booed by home fans and the UAE purchased all of the tickets for the match so that Qatari fans were unable to attend the game.
Many Qatari fans unable to attend the match
According to Fox Sports, the Abu Dhabi sports council confirmed that Prince Nahyan bin Zayed had ordered all of the tickets reserved for the game to be distributed to ‘loyal Emirati fans’.
Although many Qatari fans were unable to attend the match due to the country’s travel ban, there were around 1,000 Omani fans voicing their support for Qatar during the tournament. But they were prevented from showing their support at the semi-final clash.
“The Qatari success in this tournament has caused major discomfort among Emiratis and Saudis,” said Middle East football analyst Uri Levy.
The revelations come amid growing political tensions between Qatar and its Arab neighbours. The UAE joined Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain in imposing a blockade on Qatar more than 18 months ago. The quartet accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism and forging close ties with Iran. Doha consistently denies the allegations.
Middle East experts claim that the Asian Cup has been less about football, and more about a display of dominance in the GCC region. Qatar has now triumphed over both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, they secured a 2-0 win over the kingdom in an earlier round, which has unsettled both fans and those beyond the football arena.
“It wasn’t an easy situation,” said Felix Sanchez, Qatar’s football coach.
“The players were aware there was going to be a lot of pressure but they managed their emotions quite well. I’m very proud of them.”
Qatar will now face four-time winners Japan in the final on Friday.