Records not priority for history man Ali

Abu Dhabi: After making history by equalling Ali Daei’s long-standing record for most goals in an AFC Asian Cup, Qatar striker Almoez Ali immediately turned his attention to Friday’s final against Japan.
Ali, who was born four months before Daei set the record in the 1996 edition of the tournament, drew level with Iran legend eight minutes before half time, scoring superbly from the edge of the penalty area to put his side 2-0 up against the United Arab Emirates.
Speaking to after his side’s eventual 4-0 win, the in-form Al Duhail front man expressed his joy, before turning his attention to the tournament decider.
“I wasn’t thinking about equalling Ali Daei’s record,” he said. “No, I just left it to fate, and thankfully I managed to score a goal and bring joy to my parents, the Qatari people and my team-mates.
“This is what I was thinking about, to score for the fans and I did it. Now we have to focus on the next match and study Japan very well.”
Ali’s eighth goal was memorable for its historical significance, but it was also a beauty, as he delivered an inch-perfect curling low drive across Khalid Eisa and in off the bottom of the right upright.
Understandably, it was a goal the pacey hitman was delighted to score, but he insists he remains focused on bigger things.
“Of course, I was really happy with the goal,” he said. “It was a beautiful strike, but it means nothing, because our objectives are bigger than just scoring a beautiful goal. “I have to keep my head down and work so I can reach my objectives.”
Beyond Ali’s individual achievement, the match will be remembered as the night Qatar stormed into their first ever Continental final, with Boualem Khoukhi, Hassan al Haydos and Hamid Ismaeil also getting on the scoresheet for Felix’s Sanchez’s rampant side.
They have maintained a perfect winning record, becoming the first team in tournament history to keep clean sheets in the first six matches of the tournament in the process.
Ali took a moment to take in the achievements of a national team which lost all three matches in Australia 2015, before refocusing his gaze to the challenges ahead.
“I would like to congratulate the Qatari people back home who supported us since the start of the tournament and my team-mates who gave their all on the pitch and proved their worth,” he beamed.
“We achieved a dream of all Qataris, and hopefully we will do even better in the future.” “We don’t look at the statistics: You could win 1-0 today and lose 3-0 tomorrow. Everything we did so far is one thing, but what’s coming up is more important.
“The final needs patience, so if we are patient, play well and forget about everything we did so far, only then will we win the final.” — AFC