Qatar, 2022 FIFA World Cup host nation defeated Japan 3-1 to lift their first ever Asian Cup.
Forward Almoez Ali opened the scoreline for Qatar with a brilliant overhead kick to break the record of goals scored in a single Asian Cup, with his ninth goal.
Abdul Aziz put the Qataris ahead 2-0 with a finely finessed shot that comfortably went curling into the back of the net.
Japan’s Takumi Minamino salvaged a goal for the his side when he scored from inside the box in the second half.
VAR then came into to use when Southampton defender Maya Yoshida was seen to have intentionally handed the ball. Akarma Afif stepped up and sealed Qatar’s victory from the penalty spot making it 3-1 to the World Cup 2022 hosts.
Interestingly, the coach Felix Sanchez Bas tutored-side side went 10 hours and eight minutes without conceding a single goal at this year’s tournament before Minamino’s strike.
But off field incident like controversy surrounding regional relations which have worsened in recent years almost marred Qatar’s tournament.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates imposed an embargo for Qatar purportedly supporting radical Islamist groups.
Qatar strongly denied the accusations and accused its neighbor of seeking their own political gains by influencing regime change within the desert state.
The 18-month diplomatic crisis left hosts very isolated within the region and so the win was a much needed boost and giant leap for the small nation surrounded by hostile neighbors.