Qatar beat Jordan 3-1 to retain Asian Cup

Players of Qatar football team celebrate with the Qatar 2023 AFC Asian Cup trophy during the podium ceremony after the final football match against Jordan at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on Saturday.

Agency :
Qatar’s Akram Afif underlined his credentials as one of Asia’s finest forwards with a hat-trick in the Asian Cup final to guide his team to back-to-back titles, but the forward was coy on playing for another European club in future.
Afif netted three penalties in the 3-1 victory over Jordan, and he bagged a treble of individual awards: player of the match, most valuable player of the tournament, and top scorer with eight goals.
Opposition coaches who have faced him have praised his skills, with Tajikistan’s Petar Segrt saying it was only a question of time and whether the 27-year-old Al-Sadd forward wanted to return to Europe.
Since leading Qatar to the 2019 title with a tournament record 10 assists, Afif has become one of Asia’s most-feared players.
At the start of this tournament, he said he had dreams of returning to Europe having previously played for Eupen in the Belgian Pro League.
He later became the first Qatari player to be signed by a LaLiga club when he moved to Villarreal in 2016, but he was loaned out to Sporting Gijon before returning to Eupen and finally to Al-Sadd in 2018.
He has since developed and is arguably playing at his peak based on his Asian Cup exploits.
“I talked about becoming a professional player (in Europe). But it’s not me who decides. My wife also has to make the decision for me. It’s not easy to leave the club and country,” Afif told reporters after the final.
But he added: “I’d love to become a professional player (in Europe) … I’d say I would love to go.”
For now, he will enjoy helping Qatar become only the fifth country to successfully defend their Asian Cup crown.
“We’re happy and we will enjoy until the next Asian Cup. Then we’ll see what happens,” he added.
Coach Marquez Lopez was appointed only in December when Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz abruptly parted company with the national team.