In a riveting showdown witnessed by a packed Lusail Stadium on Saturday, Qatar clinched their second successive AFC Asian Cup crown, triumphing over Jordan with a score of 3-1, driven by Akram Afif’s remarkable hat-trick of penalties.
Despite Jordan’s Yazan Al Naimat managing to equalize the score, marking their debut appearance in the final, Afif’s composed execution from the penalty spot and Qatar’s commanding performance ensured the defending champions retained their title, initially claimed in 2019 with notable flair.
Afif, whose penalty hat-trick marked a first in the tournament’s history, concluded as the top scorer of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Yili, amassing an impressive tally of eight goals.
The final commenced with Iraqi footballer Younis Mahmoud presenting the AFC Asian Cup trophy, setting the stage for an intense showdown before a full house at Lusail Stadium. Qatar swiftly seized control, with Afif nearly breaking the deadlock early on, only to be denied by Jordan’s goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila, who made crucial saves.
Qatar’s aggressive tactics continuously tested Jordan’s defense, with Hasan Al Hydos and Almoez Ali showcasing threatening plays. In contrast, Jordan, predominantly on the defensive, managed a few counter-attacks, with Al Naimat’s effort briefly igniting hopes for a comeback.
Nevertheless, Qatar’s relentless pressure resulted in three penalties, all impeccably converted by Afif, solidifying a historic victory. The tempo of the match escalated in the second half, with Jordan striving for an equalizer and Qatar ultimately clinching the championship through astute maneuvers and decisive moments facilitated by VAR (Video Assistant Referee).