Host nation Qatar beats Jordan to retain AFC Asian Cup title

Xinhua
Akram Afif scored a hat-trick of penalties as Qatar won its second consecutive AFC Asian Cup title after defeating Jordan 3-1 in the final here on Saturday.
Xinhua
Host nation Qatar beats Jordan to retain AFC Asian Cup title
Reuters

Qatar's Hassan Al-Haydos lifts the trophy with teammates after winning the AFC Asian Cup at Lusail Stadium, Lusail, Qatar, on February 10, 2024.

Akram Afif scored a hat-trick of penalties as Qatar won its second consecutive AFC Asian Cup title after defeating Jordan 3-1 in the final on Saturday.

With seven goals and three assists at home soil, Afif won the golden boot awards and was named player of the tournament. "I scored because of the confidence my teammates had in me. It's not about the technique or the angle, it's about feeling that the team and people are behind me," said the 27-year-old striker.

In the 21st minute, Afif converted a penalty to break the deadlock for Qatar, after being brought down in the box by Abdallah Nasib.

The resilient Jordan team pressed high in the second half and found the equalizer in the 67th minute, when Yazan Al Naimat collected a right cross from Ehsan Haddad and volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.

Jordanians, however, kept making mistakes in the penalty area. In the 73rd minute, Afif slotted home once again from the penalty spot, after a VAR review witnessing Mahmoud Al Mardi's foul on Ismaeel Mohammad.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Afif completed his hat-trick after he was fouled by Jordan goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila again after a VAR intervention.

In front of more than 86,000 spectators, Qatar became the fifth nation to win back-to-back Asian Cup titles.

"I took charge just before the tournament but what was most important was that I knew the players, and they implemented my ideas fast and executed my plans," said Tintin Marquez, who was appointed Qatar head coach last month and had the experiences of working in Qatar's famous Aspire Academy for years.

Jordan's Moroccan coach Hussein Ammouta said his players were a little bit overwhelmed by the pressure of playing the country's first ever Asian Cup final. "There was a big focus on the players, and I was scared that the environment would have an impact on them," he added.

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