Qatar forward Al Moez Ali celebrates after scoring a goal. (Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports)
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Al Moez Ali bagged a brace as Asian champions Qatar became the first team to reach the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals with 3-2 win over El Salvador at State Farm Stadium Saturday night.
Abdelaziz Hatim also scored for Qatar, invited as guests in the tournament, in the quarterfinal match.
Qatar will play the winner of Sunday’s USA-Jamaica quarterfinal Thursday.
Ali opened the scoring in the second minute by capitalising on an El Salvador giveaway.
Six minutes later, Hatim hammered a right-footed shot into the goal to double the lead.
El Salvador was called for a hand ball in the 55th minute as Ali converted the spot kick for a three-goal advantage.
But the Central Americans did not go quietly into the night. Its comeback began in the 63rd minute when Amando Moreno passed to Joaquin Rivas to slice the lead to 3-1.
Rivas fouund the net again 11 minutes later with a left-footed kick.
In the second game of the doubleheader, Mexico took another step towards defending its title by scoring three first-half goals en route to a 3-0 vicottry over Honduras.
El Tri cruised past a depleted Honduras squad that had lost several players to injury and COVID-19 safety protocols.
Striker Rogelio Funes Mori headed a goal home for Mexico, which will next face Canada or Costa Rica in the semifinals
Jonathan Dos Santos and Orbelin Pineda scored seven minutes apart to break the game open.