By Victor Kanayo
Qatar on Saturday evening defeated Jordan to win another AFC Asian Cup trophy back-to-back on home soil.
The oil-rich country had won it four years ago in Dubai.
Match, Tournament Hero
The hero of the day was Akram Afif who converted a hat trick of penalties to carry Qatar on his shoulders.
Qatar entered the final as favorites, after defeating Iran in the semi-final.
Across the field, Jordan were the underdog story of the tournament, advancing past the quarter-final for the first time, and soundly defeating powerhouse South Korea 2-0 in the semi-final.
The Action That Produced Eventual Winners
The match was a hard-fought, closely-contested affair, and Qatar went ahead early, thanks to a penalty in the 22nd minute which Afif converted before Jordan fought back through forward Yazan Al-Niamat in the 67th minute.
But Qatar struck back just five minutes later, through another Afif penalty.
And then, remarkably, Afif won and converted a third penalty in stoppage time to seal the match.
Deservedly, Afif, who was thrown into the air repeatedly by his team mates after the final whistle, also picked up the award for the most valuable player of the tournament.
The result meant hosts Qatar became the fifth team to win back-to-back Asian titles, having also triumphed in 2019.
Jordan had been aiming to win the Asian Cup for the first time in their history having stunned South Korea 2-0 in the semi-finals to reach their first final.