AL AIN, UAE Ė Four goals by Almoez Ali allowed Qatarís national soccer team to secure a berth in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup last-16 on Sunday after trouncing North Korea 6-0 in their Group E second-round contest held at Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium in the United Arab Emirates city of Al Ain.
Forward Aliís countryman Akram Afif, who plays for Qatarís Al Sadd on loan from La Ligaís Villarreal, made four assists, leading their side to a glorious win.
With its second victory in a row, Qatar leads the group standings with six points, ahead of Saudi Arabia on goal difference, while North Korea sits in last place with no points, behind Lebanon on goal difference.
Ali netted the opener just nine minutes into the match on a left-footed shot from the center of the box, sending the ball to the bottom right corner of the goal, off a cross by teammate Akram Afif.
Only two minutes later, Ali doubled his sideís lead on a right-footed shot, as he was assisted by Hasan Al Haydos.
Midfielder Boualem Khoukhi made it 3-0 two minutes before the first-half stoppage time on a header seizing on another assist from Afif.
After the break, Ali found North Korea net for a third time in minute 55, stretching Qatarís lead to 4-0 lead with a left-footed shot off a third assist from Afif.
Just five minutes later, Ali scored his fourth goal and Qatarís fifth with a left-footed shot from the left side of the box sending the ball to the bottom right corner, culminating another assist from Afif following a counterattack.
Qatari defender Abdelkarim Hassan sealed the rout eight minutes after the hour mark with a left-footed shot from the left side of the box off a pass from Ali.
In the closing minutes, North Korea midfielder Jong Il-Gwan was sent off, having received his second booking for a bad foul.
On the final round-robin matchday, Qatar will take on Saudi Arabia in a highly anticipated match, not only because they will be battling for Group top spot, but putting the ongoing political crisis into consideration.
Saudi Arabia led a bloc that last year broke diplomatic and transportation links with Qatar, allegedly over its support for terrorist groups, an accusation that Doha has denied.