An acrobatic overhead kick from Almoez Ali, as well as goals from Abdelaziz Hatim and Akram Afif, saw Qatar beat Japan 3-1 today in the United Arab Emirates to lift the Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup for the first time.
The Middle Eastern nation had never previously made the final of the continental tournament, though you would not have known it as a commanding performance saw them go 2-0 up on four-time champions Japan before half time.
Incredibly the goal Qatar conceded today was their first in the whole tournament, while their win will be seen as doubly significant considering Qatar are set to host the next FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Japan had started brightly at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, with Yuya Osako shooting wide after just four minutes.
Qatar’s first goal, though, came just four minutes later through a moment of brilliance from Ali, who will leave the Asian Cup with the golden boot.
The young striker scored his ninth goal of the tournament with a spectacular overhead kick.
After receiving the ball from Afif, he juggled the it twice before firing the ball acrobatically past Shuichi Gonda in the Japanese net.
Japan looked to respond but simply could not find a gap in the Qatari defence and the lead was doubled after 27 minutes.
Afif gained himself his 10th assist of the tournament when he found Hatim, who curled a lovely effort into the bottom corner.
To their credit, Japan refused to buckle and nearly pulled a goal back on the stroke of halftime, only for Osako to narrowly miss a cross from Yuto Nagatorho while well placed.
That largely marked the story of their day as their chances largely came and went without success.
After 69 minutes Japan did finally pull one back as Takumi Minamino showed great composure to dink to the ball over Saad Al Sheeb, but their hard work was undone,and the result sealed, when Qatar were awarded a penalty with eight minutes to go.
A video assistant referee review found Maya Yoshida had handled the ball in his own box and Afif calmly converted the resultant spot kick to cap off a historic tournament for his country.