Qatar maintain AFC Asian Cup trophy at household with 3-1 gain over Jordan | AFC Asian Cup News

Lusail Stadium, Qatar – The world’s eyes ended up on the majestic Lusail Stadium when once more as it performed host to yet a different historic last that saw hosts Qatar keep on to their Asian Cup crown in opposition to very first-time finalists Jordan.

The country’s favorite footballing son and the tournament’s standout performer Akram Afif was the hero as he slotted in a few penalties that gave Qatar a 3-1 acquire in an all-Arab AFC Asian Cup 2023 closing on Saturday.

The hosts had been a single of the contenders for the crown but not outright favourites when they opened their match marketing campaign with a 3- more than Lebanon at the identical location last month.

But they depart Lusail as again-to-again champions – the initially time the feat has been realized due to the fact Japan’s consecutive wins in 2000 and 2004 – and with their star Afif as the continent’s ideal player.

Shedding finalists Jordan go away with their hearts damaged but their head held large immediately after an inspirational run at the event that landed them in their first-at any time final.

Nerves wreak havoc on Jordan

The an-Nashama began the match with jangled nerves and under the bodyweight of anticipations of their adoring fans. They had been not able to entire moves and lay the ball by to their strike pressure of Musa Tamari and Yazan Alnaimat.

The poor start off sooner or later charge them when Qatar were being awarded a penalty halfway by means of the very first 50 percent and Afif was handed the ball by his captain Hassan Al-Haydos. The number 11 made no slip-up and rolled down his sock to bring out a card with the letter ‘S’ created on it to rejoice.

His one of a kind target celebration sparked social media discussion but Afif later confirmed it was a nod to his wife whose identify starts with the letter and whom he credits with his results.

“It was her initial time watching me within a stadium so I made the decision to devote it to her,” he informed bemused reporters later on.

Jordan reemerged a a great deal improved side right after 50 %-time. Pushed on by their raucous supporters, the players started exhibiting glimpses of their attacking prowess. It resulted in an equalising goal from Naimat and the match seemed to be heading for a nail-biting previous 50 %-hour.

As shortly the ball returned to Jordan’s half, Jordan defended clumsily and gave absent an additional penalty. Afif duly obliged to rating the target that put his tournament golden boot award past any doubt.

The swift adjust in fortunes and scoreline appeared as well considerably to acquire for the Jordanian gamers and their fans. Their loud chants gave way to shocked silence as Qatar’s supporter 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 glimpse dejected soon after the match [Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters]

Later on, Jordan’s coach Hussein Ammouta would pinpoint the second penalty as the instant his workforce fell far powering the hosts.

“The timing of the penalties was important and they did not allow us to make a comeback,” he claimed in his put up-match press meeting.

Ammouta, who has received about Jordanians in a issue of weeks, stated the stress from players’ mates and families, as effectively as lovers on social media might have impacted their effectiveness.

“I are unable to acquire away their telephones and tablets and tell them they just can’t speak to men and women – but I did have a worry that these components would have an impact 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 reading through ‘S’ right after scoring Qatar’s very first goal [Molly Darlington/Reuters]

‘Cristiano of the Center East’

Qatar’s win and Jordan’s fate had been sealed in fifth minute of stoppage time when Afif done his hat-trick from the penalty place soon after remaining handed the ball however once again by his teammates.

The 27-calendar year-previous was the standout performer and it was only a subject of time that he would be joined to European leagues.

But the Al Sadd striker, who has had bank loan spells at Spanish clubs, evaded the inquiries and mentioned any possible shift would have to be initiated by a club and accredited by his beloved wife.

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

With his participant-of-the-match general performance, Afif received in excess of new followers from throughout the Arab earth.

“He [Afif] is also excellent – my phrase, he’s the Cristiano [Ronaldo] of the Middle East,” Mohammed Rabeea, who came to view the math from Kuwait, explained to Al Jazeera following the match.

Other people, like eight-calendar year-aged Mohammed Al-Kaabi, have been more than the moon to see the participant score a hat-trick.

“It’s happiest working day of my lifetime!” the youthful admirer exclaimed outside 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 for the duration of the match and handed heat embraces and winners’ medals to al-Annabi.

When the time came for the trophy to be handed to the profitable captain Al-Haydos there was a moment’s hold off. What trophy presentation in

Lusail is full with no a black-and-gold bisht? The emir assisted his captain set on the now entire world-renowned cloak just before handing him the glistening trophy that in no way remaining Qatar.

Al-Haydos, Afif and Qatar’s hero in goal Meeshal Barsham collected the tournament’s leading awards and ensured the trophy does not go away the nation for one more 4 many years – at least.

Lusail Stadium lit up with a ring of fireworks as soon as all over again and its adjoining boulevard hosted yet another champions’ parade a 12 months on.

The bash that started off in Lusail carried on in direction of distinctive elements of the region with beeping cars and trucks and waving flags. at?v=0NUEXPoW1HA

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