Qatar retained their Asian Cup with a 3-1 win over Jordan in the final on home soil on Saturday. Qatar breezed through their group containing Lebanon, Tajikistan, and China without conceding a goal. The team defeated Palestine 2-1 in the round of 16, Uzbekistan on penalties in the quarter-finals, and 10-men Iran 3-2 in the semi-final on their way to the final, where they played against Jordan, who reached the final for the first time in their history. Afif, who plays for Al-Sadd, picked himself up and with a Jorginho-esque run up, failed to send the goalkeeper the wrong way, yet he was unable to stop the effort as it rolled towards the bottom corner.
Chinese referee Ma Ning originally waved away claims for a second penalty, but following a VAR check, he controversially overruled his decision for what could have been interpreted as just a normal coming together. This time, Afif fired home to the same side but with plenty more conviction. The referee was again sent to VAR in added time and decided after a review that keeper Yazeed Abulaila didn’t make contact with the ball during a challenge. Afif then sealed his hat-trick and the Asian Cup for Qatar as he sent Abu Laila the wrong way in the fifth minute of added time.
Some comments on Twitter criticized the refereeing decisions, with one teasing, “The Asian Cup is being played in Qatar. The referees have awarded Qatar three penalties in the final. Nothing to see here. Move along.” Another comment mentioned Jordan’s perceived lack of control in the game, saying, “Jordan are being robbed”, while a third added: “Three penalties to the same side in the same match is insane”.