Qatar retain Asian Cup with final win over Jordan
Akram Afif’s hat-trick of penalties ensured Qatar have retained their Asian Cup title with victory over Jordan in the final.
Qatar won the trophy for the first time in their history in 2019 and retained their title thanks to a trio of spot kicks against Jordan, who were appearing in their first ever final.
Qatar took the lead after 22 minutes, with Al Sadd striker Afif winning and then converting a penalty after he was brought down by Abdallah Nasib.
Jordan levelled after 67 minute through a powerful Yazan Al-Naimat finish after the striker found time and space inside the area.
However, six minutes later Qatar restored their lead as Afif once again netted from the penalty spot following a VAR review.
Afif completed his hat-trick in the fourth minute of added time to seal the victory.
Qatar become the first nation to win consecutive Asian Cups since Japan in 2000 and 2004.
Jordan had embarked on an unlikely route to the final after finishing third in Group E, qualifying for the knockout stages as one of four best third-place sides. They scored twice in second-half stoppage time to secure a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Iraq in the last-16, before edging past Tajikistan in the quarter-finals.
Jordan then stunned South Korea, a side ranked 64 places above them in the FIFA world rankings, with a 2-0 victory in the semi-finals to book their place in Saturday’s final.
It marked the first time they had reached the Asian Cup final, having only made their tournament debut in 2004 and never previously progressing past the quarter-final stage.
Hosts Qatar finished top of Group A after finishing the group stages with a 100 per cent record. They beat the Palestine national team in the last-16 and progressed past Uzbekistan on penalties in the quarter-finals before a 3-2 semi-final victory over Iran.
Qatar were crowned Asian Cup champions for the first time in 2019 after victory over Japan in the final. Prior to their 2019 victory, they had only twice made it out of the group stages in five attempts.
(Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)