By Paul Nicholson in Lusail Stadium
February 10 – Qatar retained their Asian Cup title with an Akram Afif hattrick of penalties in front of 86,465 mainly Qatari fans in the Lusail Stadium.
It was an astonishing night of celebration for the Qataris who so desperately wanted a tournament win on home soil after the disappointment of the 2022 World Cup performance.
In Afif they had the player to deliver it and in VAR they had technology to confirm. It was another accomplished performance from Afif who has been the outstanding player of this tournament, picking up the man of the match award and the most valuable player of the tournament. Without who Qatar would likely have struggled.
For Jordan it was a brave finish to a quite brilliant campaign of giant killing.
Jordan have been one of the biggest stories of this Asian Cup.
Having finished third in their group they scored two goals in added time to knock Iraq out in the quarter finals before beating one of the hot favourites South Korea in the semis.
All done with just one player in their squad playing in Europe. But then none of the Qataris play in Europe either.
Both coaches picked a more attacking line-up than they had done for their semi-finals
Qatar coach Bartolome Marquez made just one from change, bringing in captain Hassan Al Haydos up front for defender Pedro Miguel.
Jordan’s Hussein added Ali Olwan to his frontline alongside the freescoring duo of Mousa Tamari and Yazan Al Naimat.
Qatar had the most meaningful start. Yusuf Abdurisag looking sharp on right and the silky Afif was causing all kinds of trouble for the Jordanians on the left
On six minutes Afif had his first real foray into the box but couldn’t lift the ball past Jordan keeper Yazeed Abulaila. The resulting corner was hammered over to bar from the edge of the box.
A minute later Afif again had the ball in the box and cheekily nutmegded his defender with a sidefooted shot that was easily gathered.
On 11 minutes Almoez Ali was sent…
Source link : https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2024/02/10/afifs-penalty-hattrick-drives-qatar-3-1-win-battling-jordan-retention-asian-cup-title/
Author : Paul Nicholson
Publish date : 2024-02-10 17:57:37
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