By: Heba Abdel Fattah
Striker Almoez Ali brushed off complaints about his ineligibility to play by scoring a spectacular overhead kick as Qatar stunned Japan 3-1 in the final of the Asian Cup on Friday.
The build-up to the final was marred by complaints by hosts United Arab Emirates that suggested that Qatar’s Sudan-born Ali, who finished the tournament as the top scorer with nine goals, and teammate Bassam Al-Rawi did not meet FIFA’s criteria for eligibility to play for Qatar.
Qatar comprehensively defeated the UAE 4-0 in the semi-finals of the tournament in a match that saw Qatari players pelted with shoes by the home fans , & the World Cup 2022 hosts completed a remarkable run in the tournament by shocking four-time champion s Japan 3-1 in Friday’s final at Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi , Ali’s spectacular overhead kick put Qatar ahead after 12 minutes to break Egyptian legend Ali Daei’s mark and give his side an early lead.
The shock result looked even more likely when Abdulaziz Hatem doubled Qatar’s lead in the 27th minute , Japan reduced the arrears through Takumi Minamino’s 69th-minute strike, but a penalty from Akram Afif restored Qatar’s two-goal cushion with seven minutes to go, securing the win for Qatar and sending Japan to their first defeat in an Asian Cup final , The win represents a major boost for Qatari football, after the team went six games without conceding a goal before Friday’s final ,& their win over the Blue Samurai – who have dominated previous tournaments – will give the nation added impetus as they prepare to host the 2022 World Cup Finals.