AFC Asian Cup: 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar stun Japan 3-1 to lift title

Almoez Ali scored a record ninth goal of the competition as Qatar led 2-0 at half-time, before they conceded for the first time in the tournament as Japan threatened a comeback.
Players of Qatar run to celebrate after winning the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar in Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.(AP)
Players of Qatar run to celebrate after winning the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar in Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.(AP)
Updated on Feb 01, 2019 09:53 PM IST
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Abu Dhabi | ByReuters

Almoez Ali scored a spectacular overhead kick for a record ninth goal of the tournament to set Qatar on their way to a first Asian Cup triumph with a stunning 3-1 win over four-times champions Japan on Friday.

Ali’s 12th minute strike took him past Ali Daei’s 1996 tally and, combined with a 27th minute strike from Abdulaziz Hatem and a late Akram Afif penalty, helped the Qataris make an emphatic statement ahead of their hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

The Sudan-born 22-year-old Ali’s record goal came after a protest by the host United Emirates FA into his eligibility to represent Qatar was dismissed by the Asian Football Confederation only a few hours before kickoff.

Japan finally found a way through a Qatar defence that had not conceded in six previous matches when Takumi Minamino scored in the 69th minute but the penalty condemned the Samurai Blue to their first defeat in an Asian Cup final.

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