Qatar stun Japan to win 2019 Asian Cup, first-ever title (video)
Qatar won its first-ever Asian Cup title, as their fairytale run to the 2019 final ended in glory.
The 93rd-ranked team in the world are officially the best team in Asia.
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Previously they had never reached the knockout rounds of the tournament, but the side managed by Felix Sanchez Bas only conceded one goal during the two-week long competition in the United Arab Emirates, as they beat Japan 3-1 in the final in Abu Dhabi.
Almoez Ali and Abdulaziz Hatem scored sensational first half goals to secure the trophy, as Ali led the tournament with nine goals and set a new record for the most goals scored in a single Asian Cup.
Akram Afif scored a late penalty kick to make it 3-1 after Minamino halved the deficit amid sustained second half pressure from Japan.
There was drama off the field ahead of the final, though.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was called in by the UAE -- the tournament hosts who lost to Qatar at the semifinal stage -- regarding an appeal over some of Qatar’s players not being eligible, but the winners were found not guilty of any wrongdoing before kick off.
The underdogs jumped into an early 2-0 lead thanks to a stunning overhead kick goal from Almoez Ali.
Then Abdulaziz Hatem (who scored the winner against South Korea in the quarterfinal) spanked home a wonderful shot from distance to stun Japan.
Try as they might Japan couldn’t claw back the deficit as Minamino made it 2-1 with 22 minutes to go, but that was as good as it got for the Samurai Blue.
Qatar held on as Afif sealed the win from the penalty spot after a controversial spot kick was awarded.
With the 2022 World Cup being held in Qatar, this incredible success well and truly marks the arrival of The Maroons on the international stage.