It’s SHOE-Nil! Furious UAE fans throw sandals at Qatar players after they score second goal during 4-0 Asian Cup semi-final win
- UAE fans took off their sandals and threw them at opposition players after a goal
- They became furious as their team was battered 4-0 by their bitter rivals
- In Arab countries hitting someone with the sole of the shoe is a deep insult
- The UAE and Qatar are currently locked in a fierce diplomatic dispute
Qatari players were pelted with shoes by United Arab Emirates fans as they battered the home team 4-0 in the semi-final of the Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi.
Qatar were expected to face a hostile home crowd at the packed 43,000-seat Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, where the sport authority offered free tickets to UAE fans.
As the Qataris celebrated their second goal, the Emiratis erupted in jeers and began throwing their sandals onto the field of play – a deeply offensive gesture in Arab culture.
Off the pitch the countries are locked in a diplomatic dispute with the UAE accusing Doha of backing Islamist terror and Shiite Iran – the UAE in contrast has close ties with Sunni Saudi Arabia.
One of the Qatari players lies on the floor at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi as missiles rain down around him
Ugly scenes followed Qatar’s second goal before the first half was even over, as bitter UAE fans launched their sandals and plastic bottles at the players
The missiles were thrown as the Qataris celebrated their second goal before the first half was even over.
The disreputable conduct extended onto the field of play late into the game, as one of the UAE players was shown a straight red card in stoppage time.
Showing the sole of a shoe or sandal in Arab culture is seen as deeply offensive, while being struck by it is even worse.
When Saddam Hussein’s statue was famously toppled by Iraqis during the war in 2003, they flocked around the fallen monument to batter it with their sandals.
The Qataris – who have shown impressive form throughout the tournament – have had to play with little support as their citizens cannot freely travel in the Gulf after the UAE imposed restrictions.
Their 4-0 trouncing of the Emiratis means they will head into the final against Japan with the hope of causing a huge upset at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday.
It is the first time Qatar has progressed to an Asian Cup final.
Qatar filed a complaint to the WTO in August 2017 saying it was the victim of an ‘illegal siege’ perpetrated by a Saudi-led bloc, which included the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt.
The four Arab states’ measures include trade and diplomatic boycotts on Qatar, which accuses Riyadh and its allies of seeking regime change in Doha.
Water bottles can be seen crashing onto the field as one of the players looks to turn back at the crowd in fury, only to be held fast by a team-mate
A banner along hoardings at the stadium says, ‘Bringing Asia Together’ which belies the deplorable scenes during the match
They cited concerns over Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as possible ties to Islamist terror.
The Saudi-bloc is also angered by their backing of Shiite Iran, with whom Qatar shares control of the world’s largest gas field.
The row has forced isolated Qatar, which previously relied on its Gulf neighbours for much-needed imports, to look elsewhere for food products, including Turkey, Morocco and Iran.