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  •  Ismail Ahmed of United Arab Emirates clears the pitch of object thrown by fans after Qatar

    Ismail Ahmed of United Arab Emirates clears the pitch of object thrown by fans after Qatar's Hasan Al Haydos scored their third goal. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 January 2019

Qatari players were pelted with bottles and shoes during their Asian Cup semi-final win against the UAE host team.

Football fans on social media are imploring FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to punish the UAE after Emirati fans pelted Qatari players with shoes and bottles during the Asian Cup semi-final Tuesday.

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Emirati fans began the game by booing the Qatari national anthem and ended it by throwing bottles and shoes at the players, who beat the host UAE team 4 - 0. The atmosphere in the stadium became increasingly hostile as Qatar took the lead and then doubled it before the end of the first half. Videos of the incident quickly went viral.

Qatari fans were not allowed to attend due to an ongoing ban on Qatari citizens entering the UAE. Emirati government-linked bodies purchased surplus tickets and distributed them to "loyal" local fans, resulting in a stadium packed with hostile spectators against the Qatari team.

Emirati defender Ismail Ahmed was also sent off before the match ended for elbowing Qatar's Salem el-Hajri in the face.

AFC said it was "conducting a thorough investigation into events at the Asian Cup UAE 2019 semi-final between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar," in a statement to Al Jazeera.

"Once that investigation has been completed the AFC will decide on the appropriate next steps," The AFC said.

Many have called for the UAE to be punished for setting the tone that enabled the crowd's aggressive behavior, as well as for its failure to protect the Qatari team.

"UAE fans threw shoes at Qatari players. They started off the game with booing national anthem. International bodies should reconsider giving UAE the chance to host reputed sporting events," fan Olivia Thomas tweeted.

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