SMA NEWS – DOHA
In an exhilarating finale at the packed Lusail Stadium on Saturday, Qatar clinched their second successive AFC Asian Cup crown, overcoming Jordan 3-1, powered by Akram Afif’s unprecedented hat-trick of penalties.
Despite Yazan Al Naimat leveling the score for Jordan, marking their debut in the final, Afif’s composed execution from the spot and Qatar’s dominant performance ensured the defending champions retained their title, first won in 2019 with notable flair.
Afif, whose penalty hat-trick was the first in this tournament’s history, finished as the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Yili Top Scorer, amassing eight goals.
The final kicked off 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 quickly took control, with Afif nearly opening the scoring early on, only for Jordan’s keeper Yazeed Abulaila to make crucial saves.
Qatar’s aggressive play continually tested Jordan’s defense, highlighted by Hasan Al Hydos and Almoez Ali’s threatening plays. Meanwhile, Jordan, largely on the defensive, managed a few counter-attacks, with Al Naimat’s effort temporarily raising hopes for a comeback.
However, Qatar’s relentless pressure led to three penalties, all converted by Afif, sealing a historic win. The match’s pace intensified in the second half, with Jordan striving for an equalizer and Qatar ultimately securing the championship through strategic plays and decisive moments awarded by VAR.