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Akram Afif's hat-trick of penalties wins Qatar the Asian Cup


Akram Afif achieved a hat-trick by successfully converting three penalty kicks, leading Qatar to a 3-1 victory over Jordan in the Asian Cup final held at Lusail Stadium.

Qatar triumphantly retained their Asian Cup championship by defeating Jordan 3-1 on Saturday at Lusail Stadium. Akram Afif, the host team's player, skillfully converted three penalty kicks, leading to their second continental title victory.

Jordan was participating in its inaugural Asian Cup final, aiming to secure its first significant championship. However, Qatar emerged victorious in the presence of 86,492 spectators, including Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.

Yazan al-Naimat briefly gave Jordan hope by scoring an equaliser in the second half. However, their hopes were crushed when they conceded two more penalties, both converted by Afif, the tournament's leading scorer with eight goals. Afif, who was repeatedly lifted into the air by his teammates after the final whistle, also received the accolade for being the tournament's most valuable player.

In the 20th minute, Qatar gained an advantage when Afif earned a penalty by attempting to evade Abdallah Nasib. The referee promptly awarded a penalty kick. In response, Hussein Ammouta, Jordan's coach, expressed his anger on the sideline.

Qatar's captain, Hassan al-Haydos, positioned himself close to the penalty area. Once the Jordanian players had moved away, he passed the ball to Afif, who confidently approached the penalty spot and skillfully directed the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.

Jordan had not conceded a goal since their intense victory over Iraq in the last-16 match. Afif commemorated his successful strike by showcasing a card trick in front of the cameras. However, Jordan changed their approach in the second half and successfully countered Qatar by exploiting the gaps in their defence.

Yazan al-Arab came close to scoring an equaliser with an impressive volley from a corner, but the shot was directed straight at the custodian. Shortly after, Ali Olwan attempted a backheeled shot at the near post, but it narrowly missed the target.

Jordan scored the equaliser in the middle of the second half when Naimat skillfully controlled a cross with an exceptional first touch, evading his opponent to score his fourth goal of the tournament confidently.

The state of parity was short-lived, lasting merely six minutes, as Qatar obtained another penalty following a VAR examination for a foul committed by Mahmoud al-Mardi. Afif successfully converted the penalty kick without making any errors.

With an additional 13 minutes of play, Jordan made a concerted effort to score an equalising goal. However, Qatar managed to secure a third penalty during stoppage time when Afif was fouled by the custodian, Yazeed Abulaila while attempting to score. The forward maintained his poise and took the final opportunity to secure an insurmountable lead against Jordan.

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