2/2/2019 12:02:20 AM (GMT+3)

Qatar stun Japan to win maiden Asian Cup title

Qatar stun Japan to win maiden Asian Cup title

DOHA, Qatar: Friday turned out to be a historic night for Qatar after they stunned Asian powerhouse Japan 3-1 in the AFC Asian Cup final to win their maiden continental title.

Tournament top-scorer Almoez Ali fired home with an incredible over-head kick in the 12th minute after he was put through by Akram Afif.

The former Aspire Academy student juggled the ball twice before sending a spectacular overhead kick beyond the reach of Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.

Almoez thus became the top-scorer (nine goals) in a single tournament and shattered Iran’s Ali Daei’s record with whom he shared.

Japan started as favourites having put through a commendable performance in 2018 FIFA World Cup but the Qataris, who never progressed beyond the quarterfinals, had something else to offer.

Afif was once in his elements when he set up (his 10th assist in the competition) midfielder Abdelaziz Hatim to put the Japanese in further trouble

But Japan fought back in the second half as they created a lot of chances with the Samurai Blues hit back in the 69th couresy Takumi Minamino, who wriggled his way through the defence and lobbed the ball over Saad Al Sheeb.

However, Japan was once again pushed to the back foot when Afif converted from the spot give side a comfortable lead.

While it was unbridled joy for Qatar, the defeat ended Japanese hopes of claiming what would have been a record-extending fifth title.