METERWith three penalties to defend their title: hosts Qatar have once again been crowned Asian champions thanks to penalty-killing hero Akram Afif. Spanish coach Tintín Márquez's team defeated Jordan 3-1 (1-0) on Saturday in a strange and entertaining final and became the fifth team to successfully defend its Asian Cup title.

Qatar The goals in the final before 80,000 spectators at the Lusail stadium, where Argentina had become world champions with Lionel Messi 419 days before, were scored by Afif (22./73./90.+5) after penalty kicks, all from the place. Surprise of the tournament Jordan, who had eliminated South Korea with national coach Jürgen Klinsmann in the semi-finals, continued to fight, but could only briefly dream of a great victory thanks to Yazan Al-Naimat's equalizer (67th).

Landscape that repeats

In a fast-paced and very intense duel, Qatar initially had more of the game. After Abdallah Nasib brought down Qatari star Afif in the penalty area, the man who was fouled got up and converted from the left.

However, Jordan did not give up and improved as the game progressed. Al-Naimat's equalizer in the left corner was not undeserved, but it was also a wake-up call for Qatar. The reigning champions were once again more active and soon got their reward: once again the Chinese referee Ning Ma correctly pointed out the penalty spot and Afif scored again. In added time – this time after studying the video images – the scene was repeated.

The second title is a great satisfaction for Qatar: the Arab country was eliminated without a chance in the preliminary round of the World Cup at home. For Jordan, reaching the final was already a sensation; the kingdom has never reached a World Cup; Their biggest successes so far have been their Asian Cup quarter-final appearances in 2004 and 2011.