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Qatar tribune



Coach Marquez Lopez lauded his Qatar players for their composure and focus in their 3-1 victory over Jordan in the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 final at the Lusail Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts produced a dominant display from start to finish with Akram Afif netting a hat-trick of penalties to seal the victory at a packed Lusail Stadium, a victory which meant back-to-back AFC Asian Cup titles for Qatar.

“I’m extremely happy and I congratulate the Qatari people and the players. We are so happy that we won the match. The tension was high.

“Maybe it was not beautiful football but everyone remembers the winner and I’m proud of my players and their achievements,” said Lopez.

Afif’s hat-trick took his tally to eight, with his performances landing him the Most Valuable Player andAFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Yili Top Scorer Awards, and Lopez was effusive in his praise of the striker.

“I’m happy Akram (Afif) won both the awards and he deserves to win them.”

Qatar became only the fifth nation to win back-to-back AFC Asian Cup titles with Lopez having masterminded the triumph despite having only taken charge in December.

“I have been working in Qatar and I know the players well. It was easy to work with them and they effectively implemented our ideas on the field.

“For now, I’m going to go back to work with Al Wakrah (in the Qatar Stars League). I’m not sure what will happen but we will enjoy the moment for now.”

Ammouta: Jordan can walk tall despite final heartbreak

The title eluded Jordan but Hussein Ammouta only had words of praise and encouragement for his players.

“There is only great pride in my players as they had a great tournament. They played very well in getting us into the final,” said Ammouta.

“However, our performance in the first half (of the final) was a bit of a struggle as our crosses, passes were not accurate. We improved in the second half and drew level but then conceded two penalties.

“The penalties made it very difficult but the players tried their best and we have to accept that mistakes will happen in matches.”

“We certainly wanted much more but it wasn’t to be but there is so much that the players can take from here. They have opened new horizons and it is crucial that the players build on this.”

Jordan will now turn their focus to the Preliminary Joint Qualification - Round 2 for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027, with the action to resume in March.

They have some work to do, having collected just a point from their opening two matches with a double header against Pakistan coming up.

“We have created a new level and the key thing now is to continue improving the technical and physical aspects.

“Players need to train harder, give more in matches. They need to play regularly for their clubs in order to maintain the level we have reached.”

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