Qatar successfully defended their Asian Cup crown after beating Jordan 3-1 on Saturday at Lusail Stadium where Akram Afif converted three penalties as the hosts won their second continental title.
Jordan were playing in their first Asian Cup final and seeking their first major trophy, but it was Qatar who prevailed in front of 86,492 fans including Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
After Afif opened the score in the 22nd minute with a penalty kick, Jordan’s attack pressed but could not break through until the second half, when in the 67th minute, Yazan Al-Naimat scored the equaliser.
Jordan’s relief was short-lived; only a few minutes later, Afif scored his second penalty and eventually sealed things for Qatar when he completed his hat-trick with a third goal from the penalty spot.
Afif, who was tossed into the air by his teammates after the final whistle, also picked up the award for player of the match and most valuable player of the tournament.
“Scoring penalties is because of the confidence my teammates had in me. It’s not about technique or choosing the angle, it’s the feeling of having my team behind me,” Afif said.
Meanwhile, Jordan coach Hussein Ammouta said, “We weren’t focused in the first half and we made mistakes. There were easy opportunities to score but we didn’t. The timing of the two penalties [in the second half] was harsh.
“But I want to congratulate the players. They’ve gained confidence and opened horizons for the future. Maybe we can win in future tournaments.”