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Afif stars as Qatar defeat Jordan to retain title

Afif stars as Qatar defeat Jordan to retain title

In front of a packed Lusail Stadium, Akram Afif led Qatar to their second consecutive AFC Asian Cup™ title with a remarkable hat-trick of penalties, securing a 3-1 victory over Jordan in the Qatar 2023™ final.

Despite Yazan Al Naimat’s equalizer offering Jordan a glimmer of hope, Afif’s composure and Qatar’s overall dominance ensured a comfortable defense of their title, originally claimed in emphatic fashion back in 2019.

Afif’s hat-trick, the tournament’s first, brought his tally to eight goals, earning him the prestigious AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Yili Top Scorer Award. The atmosphere at the Lusail Stadium was electrifying, with Iraq legend and former captain Younis Mahmoud unveiling the AFC Asian Cup trophy before a capacity crowd, setting the stage for an enthralling final.

Qatar seized control early on, with Afif nearly capitalizing on Jordan’s defensive lapse in the fifth minute. Despite goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila’s swift intervention, Qatar’s relentless pressure continued, with Afif and his teammates testing Jordan’s resilience.

Jordan, primarily limited to counter-attacks, showed flashes of promise, notably with Nizar Al Rashdan’s incisive long ball setting up Yazan Al Naimat’s dangerous effort, forcing goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham into action. The momentum shifted decisively in Qatar’s favor in the 73rd minute, as they were awarded a second penalty following Mahmoud Al Mardi’s foul on Ismaeel Mohammad. Afif calmly converted from the spot, restoring Qatar’s lead.

There was no let-up for Jordan, as a VAR review led to Qatar’s third penalty after Abulaila’s challenge on Afif. With nerves of steel, Afif completed his hat-trick in the dying moments of added time, sealing Qatar’s second AFC Asian Cup title.

In a display of skill, determination, and tactical prowess, Qatar emerged as deserving champions, etching their name in Asian football history once again.

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