Asian Cup 2019 : We're taking the Asian Cup back to Doha, says Qatar's Afif

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Qatar's forward Akram Afif (R) is marked by Iraq's defender Alaa Ali Mhawi during the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 football match between Qatar and Iraq at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 22, 2019. / AFP / Karim Sahib

Qatar's Ali Afif shunned the standard pre- match conventions in front of a quarter- final conflict against South Korea on Thursday, strongly proclaiming his side would take the Asian Cup back to Doha to celebrate with their fans. 

The blockade of Qatar by the United Arab Emirates, among different nations, has brought about just a handful of fans making the short trip over the Gulf to help the 2022 World Cup hosts. 

Qatar have by and by indicated amazing structure in achieving the quarter-finals, winning four matches without yielding an goal and knocking out 2007 champions Iraq in the last 16. 

Afif said moving beyond pre- tournament top choices South Korea and into the semi-finals of the mainland title out of the blue on Friday should not be the degree of their aspiration. 

"We realize they are supporting us even they are not here," the accomplished midfielder said of the missing fans. 

"We got messages from Doha that they are supporting us and will attempt to reimburse them with our unstinting efforts. The entire squad will do as such and we will celebrate together and return to Doha with the Cup for them." 

Afif has just played 10 minutes as a substitute at the tournament so far with Felix Sanchez inclining toward more younger players he has brought through from his days as mentor of Qatar's age group teams.

The Spaniard paid tribute to South Korea as an "tough" team who play football "in the correct way". 

 

"The players are extremely sure," he included. "And yet we realize it will be extremely intense and must be prepared to create a decent performance." 

Paulo Bento is planning to convey a third Asian Cup to South Korea and the Portuguese mentor was wary about the test displayed by the Qataris, especially their speed in the progress from barrier to assault. 

He was not worried about having just a three sunrise subsequent to requiring additional opportunity to move beyond Bahrain in the last 16, however, nor about forward Son Heung-min not having discovered the net in two matches. 

"It's not obligatory that Son scores objectives for the national group," he said. 

"What is most imperative is that we've scored in each diversion in this challenge. I couldn't care less who scores." 

Bento was enchanted that the video partner official (VAR) framework was being presented from the quarter-last stage however said it ought to have been used from the beginning of the competition. 

The victors of Friday's match will play holders Australia or hosts the United Arab Emirates in the semi-finals in Al Ain.

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