Ali helps Qatar stun Japan for Asian Cup title

Updated: Feb 03, 2019, 16:50 IST | AFP

Qatar survived a wobble at two-nil when Takumi Minamino pulled one back on 69 minutes, only for Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov to award the Maroons a penalty on video review for a handball by Japan captain Maya Yoshida

Ali helps Qatar stun Japan for Asian Cup title
Qatar's Almoez Ali celebrates their win over Japan in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Pic/AFP

Qatar stunned Japan 3-1 to win their first Asian Cup title on Friday sparked by a moment of jaw-dropping brilliance from record-breaker Almoez Ali and after a controversial late twist.

Sudan-born striker Ali scored with an acrobatic bicycle kick after just 12 minutes and Abdelaziz Hatim curled in a superb second before Akram Afif converted a VAR-assisted penalty to give the 2022 World Cup hosts a famous victory in Abu Dhabi.

"To win seven games in a row, we deserve to be champions," Qatar coach Felix Sanchez told AFP as thousands took to the streets back in Doha, many waving flags from car windows and honking their horns in celebration.

"We made history for our country. It was an unbelievable opening goal from Almoez - he's so dynamic, everything he touches turns to gold." Qatar survived a wobble at two-nil when Takumi Minamino pulled one back on 69 minutes, only for Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov to award the Maroons a penalty on video review for a handball by Japan captain Maya Yoshida. "That's one of the toughest ways to lose," said a distraught Yoshida.

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