Qatar maintain AFC Asian Cup trophy at dwelling with 3-1 win over Jordan | AFC Asian Cup Information [World]

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Lusail Stadium, Qatar – The world’s eyes had been on the majestic Lusail Stadium as soon as once more because it performed host to yet one more historic remaining that noticed hosts Qatar maintain on to their Asian Cup crown in opposition to first-time finalists Jordan.

The nation’s favorite footballing son and the event’s standout performer Akram Afif was the hero as he slotted in three penalties that gave Qatar a 3-1 win in an all-Arab AFC Asian Cup 2023 remaining on Saturday.

The hosts had been one of many contenders for the crown however not outright favourites once they opened their event marketing campaign with a 3-0 over Lebanon on the similar venue final month.

However they depart Lusail as back-to-back champions – the primary time the feat has been achieved since Japan’s consecutive wins in 2000 and 2004 – and with their star Afif because the continent’s finest participant.

Shedding finalists Jordan depart with their hearts damaged however their heads held excessive after an inspirational run on the event that landed them of their first-ever remaining.

Nerves wreak havoc on Jordan

An-Nashama started the match with jangled nerves and below the load of the expectations of their adoring followers. They had been unable to finish strikes and lay the ball by means of to their strike power of Musa Tamari and Yazan Al Naimat.

The poor begin finally value them when Qatar had been awarded a penalty halfway by means of the primary half and Afif was handed the ball by his captain Hassan Al-Haydos. The quantity 11 made no mistake and rolled down his sock to deliver out a card with the letter S written on it to have fun.

His distinctive objective celebration sparked social media debates however Afif later confirmed it was a nod to his spouse whose title begins with the letter and whom he credit along with his success.

“It was her first time watching me inside a stadium so I made a decision to dedicate it to her,” he instructed bemused reporters afterwards.

Jordan reemerged a much-improved facet after half-time. Pushed on by their raucous supporters, the gamers started displaying glimpses of their attacking prowess. It resulted in an equalising objective from Al Naimat and the sport gave the impression to be heading for a nail-biting final half-hour.

As quickly because the ball returned to Jordan’s half, Jordan defended clumsily and gave away one other penalty. Afif duly obliged to attain the objective that put his event Golden Boot award past any doubt.

The swift change in fortunes and scoreline appeared an excessive amount of to take for the Jordanian gamers and their followers. Their loud chants gave option to shocked silence as Qatar’s followers celebrated in disbelief.

Soccer Football - AFC Asian Cup - Final - Jordan v Qatar - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - February 10, 2024 Jordan players look dejected after the match REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Jordan gamers look dejected after the match [Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

In a while, Jordan’s coach Hussein Ammouta would pinpoint the second penalty because the second his staff fell far behind the hosts.

“The timing of the penalties was essential and so they didn’t enable us to make a comeback,” he mentioned in his post-match information convention.

Ammouta, who has gained over Jordanians in a matter of weeks, mentioned the stress from gamers’ associates and households, in addition to followers on social media, could have impacted their efficiency.

“I can’t take away their telephones and tablets and inform them they will’t discuss to folks – however I did have a concern that these elements would have an effect on their psychological state through the match.”

Soccer Football - AFC Asian Cup - Final - Jordan v Qatar - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - February 10, 2024 Qatar's Akram Afif celebrates scoring their second goal REUTERS/Molly Darlington
Akram Afif holds up a card studying ‘S’ after scoring Qatar’s first objective [Molly Darlington/Reuters]

‘Cristiano of the Center East’

Qatar’s win and Jordan’s destiny had been sealed within the fifth minute of stoppage time when Afif accomplished his hat-trick from the penalty spot after being handed the ball but once more by his teammates.

The 27-year-old was the standout performer and it was solely a matter of time that he can be linked to European leagues.

However the Al Sadd striker, who has had mortgage spells at Spanish golf equipment, evaded the questions and mentioned any potential transfer must be initiated by a membership and authorized by his beloved spouse.

“For now, what I do know is that we’re back-to-back [Asian] champions,” Afif mentioned with a shrug.

Together with his player-of-the-match efficiency, Afif gained over new followers from throughout the Arab world.

“He [Afif] is just too good – my phrase, he’s the Cristiano [Ronaldo] of the Center East,” Mohammed Rabeea, who got here to look at the maths from Kuwait, instructed Al Jazeera after the match.

Others, like eight-year-old Mohammed al-Kaabi, had been over the moon to see the participant rating a hat-trick.

“It’s the happiest day of my life!” the younger fan exclaimed outdoors the stadium.

Soccer Football - AFC Asian Cup - Final - Jordan v Qatar - Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar - February 10, 2024 Qatar's Hassan Al-Haydos with Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani after winning the AFC Asian Cup REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Hassan Al-Haydos with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani [Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was in attendance through the match and handed heat embraces and winners’ medals to al-Annabi.

When the time got here for the trophy to be handed to the profitable captain Al-Haydos there was a second’s delay. What trophy presentation in Lusail is full with out a black-and-gold bisht? The emir helped his captain placed on the now world-renowned cloak earlier than handing him the glistening trophy that by no means left Qatar.

Al-Haydos, Afif and Qatar’s hero in objective Meeshal Barsham collected the event’s prime awards and ensured the trophy doesn’t depart the nation for one more 4 years – a minimum of.

Lusail Stadium lit up with a hoop of fireworks as soon as once more and its adjoining boulevard hosted one other champions’ parade a yr on.

The social gathering that began in Lusail carried on in the direction of totally different elements of the nation with beeping vehicles and waving flags.



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