Qatar are the New Crowned Champions of Asia!!!

Rohit Ganguly  |  Asian Cup  |  2 Months Ago

History was penned on a flamboyant evening as the most elite football competition in Asia met its conclusion. Qatar has been crowned the champions of what seemed to be one of the best ever Asia Cup finals with three incredible goals splitting apart both the defences.


Japan started the game on a much more belligerent note trying to shake Qatar early in the game. However, their penetration in the final-third was mostly blunt and that aided Qatar in getting the time to not only weather the storm but also start pegging back Japan on the counter.


It was on a similar counter-attacking move that Qatar drew first blood as early as in the 12th minute of the game, courtesy of a stupendous acrobatic effort from the highest goal scorer in the tournament. Akram Afif teed up Almoez Ali with a vicious ball in the penalty box and the latter controlled the ball with his deft first touch, elevated it to a comfortable height to position himself for the killer finish and executed the overhead kick with perfection to slot the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net.

If the first goal was a spectacle to relish, the second from Qatar was a marvel for the eyes. Abdelaziz Hatim unleashed a flyer from his left foot just from the outside of the box and the ball curled into the top-left corner past a diving Gonda into the net.


Qatar was on a phenomenal high as they kept on coming back to Japan and all Japan did throughout the first half was nothing but defending their own fortress with additional care. The second half, however, witnessed tectonic shifts in the game. Japan started flying high and it was Qatar on the back burner.


Despite picking up consecutive corners, Japan couldn’t put enough stings behind them and Qatar slowly grew back into the match, thereby nullifying any hope of Japan’s fight-back.

However, the drama was still to unfold as Takumi Minamino pulled one back for the five-time Asian champions with twenty minutes to spare. The goal was exemplary for all the budding strikers watching the game as Minamino paved the way for his final ball by tucking it in the path of Osako,  whose tender touch on the ball set it up perfectly for the striker to rattle the net.


The goal propelled the entire Japanese outfit to up their ante on several gears and Qatar had their task cut out. However, on another counter, which was traded for a corner by Gonda, Qatar was awarded a spot-kick by the referee. Abdelkarim Hassan’s header from the corner struck Maya Yoshida’s stretched arm and the Maroon brigade who were in their unwonted White for the night went up in appeal in unison. The referee snubbed in the first instance, however, was compelled to consult the VAR and overturn his on-field decision.


Akram Afif stepped up for the spot-kick and calmly slotted the ball right into the centre of the net, steering Gonda in the other direction.


It was just a matter of minutes before the final whistle blew and Qatar penned history by being the Asian Cup champions for the first time.


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