By Frank Ulom
Qatar won their second Asian Cup trophy after starman, Akram Afif scored controversially on the penalty spot three times.
Qatar who are the host of the 2023 Asian Cup began their back-to-back title defence after Afif put them 1-nil up against Jordan in the 22nd minute at the majestic Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar on Saturday.
Yazan Al-Naimat pulled one back for Jordan in the 67th minute to give the underdogs a glimmer of hope.
However, Qatar were awarded a second penalty in the 73rd minute and Afif stepped up and slotted in his second, putting the host closer to their second title in 4 years.
Any hope of parity for Jordan was dashed as Qatar were awarded their third penalty in the 90+5 minutes, and just as the other two times, Afif stepped up to make it 3-1, a hattrick he will never forget.
Afif who emerged as the highest goal scorer with 8 goals then put on an outrageous card-trick performance.
His Golden Boot ensured he surpassed Iraq’s Aymen Hussein tally of six.
With the win, Qatar reaffirmed its status as a footballing powerhouse in Asia as they have been crowned champions in two successive editions.
Despite the win, officials of the final have been criticised for their decisions during the match.
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) February 10, 2024
Some football fans even tagged it “corruption”.
3 penalties for Qatar in the Asia Cup final, played in… Qatar.
Nothing corrupt and suspicious there pic.twitter.com/1hdBWddPlG
— John H O N E S T Y (@ExJohnHonestyy) February 10, 2024