Asian Cup braces for one last surprise as Qatar face Jordan in final

An Asian Cup full of late goals and surprises reaches a climax on Saturday when hosts and holders Qatar face a Jordan side looking to make yet more histo­ry. The 88,000-capacity Lusail Stadium, where Lionel Messi’s Argentina beat France in the World Cup final 14 months ago, will stage the final act of four weeks of Asian football.


Few would have predicted it would come down to a decid­er between a Qatar side who swapped coaches one month before the Asian Cup and a Jor­dan team ranked 87 in the world.


Pre-tournament favourites Japan were dumped out in the quarter-finals by Iran, who then went down in a 3-2 semi-final thriller to Qatar on Wednesday.


In a competition raining late goals, it should have been little surprise that Qatar’s win­ner came eight minutes from time when Almoez Ali turned in to break Iranian hearts.


“I’m very happy for Qatar, the people of Qatar, the fans and the players,” said coach Tintin Marquez, the Spaniard who was spirited in to replace Carlos Queiroz less than four weeks before the competition.


“The match was very com­plex but we played a big game, the players didn’t spare any ef­fort. Now we have one final step left to defend our title.” — AFP