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Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup Victory- As It Happened

2023 AFC Asian Cup Qatar

Akram Afif turned hero for Qatar by netting a hat trick of penalty to help his nation win back-to-back AFC Asian Cup. Facing a brilliant Jordan side, Qatar played some exuberant football, and their brilliance in the final third was rewarded with three penalties, which Afif dispatched with great ease.

With this victory, Qatar has proven its credentials as an Asian footballing powerhouse. This achievement has been years in the making, with the nation investing a considerable amount of financial resources to improve the quality of their national team.

So, we trace Qatar’s incredible Asia Cup journey, where they proved themselves worthy of being champions again.

AFC Asian Cup Group Stage: A quest for redemption 

When Qatar took the field against Lebanon in the opening game of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, their main aim was to put behind the ghost of an underwhelming World Cup campaign just over a year back. The nation had lost all three games, a first for any hosts in the tournament’s history.

So, a good start was needed in the Asian Cup. And Qatar didn’t disappoint as they quickly scored three goals without reply to start their title defence in style. Their next two games were 1-0 wins over Tajikistan and China, respectively, which earned them a top spot. What was important in their later two wins was how they had managed to win despite being far from their best, a key feature for any title-winning team.

The incredible performance earned them a round-of-16 clash against Palestine.

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Knockouts: Qatar’s champion mentality rises to the fore 

In their previous title-winning campaign, Qatar faced Iraq and South Korea in the round of 16 and quarter-finals, respectively. So, it was unsurprising that these two games were hard-fought 1-0 wins. However, as soon as they cleared this hurdle, they easily won their final two games against the United Arab Emirates (4-0) and Japan (3-1).

This time, though, their route was far more straightforward, but still, Qatar failed to perform at their 2019 level. However, Qatar had one trick up its sleeve: experience. They had one before and knew how to calm their nerves in crunch situations.

The first test of it came against Palestine. In a tightly contested game, Bassam Al Rawi got the decisive goal. Iraq had outshot the defending champions 11-9 on the night. In addition, Palestine also had more shots on target (5-3), but the brilliance of…

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