Qatar beats Japan in Asian Cup final for first major title

Soccer Football- AFC Asian Cup- Final- Japan v Qatar- Zayed Sports City Stadium Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates

Soccer Football- AFC Asian Cup- Final- Japan v Qatar- Zayed Sports City Stadium Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates

Asian Cup hosts the UAE have protested the eligibility of two Qatari players on the eve of Qatar's appearance in Friday's final against Japan.

Sudanese-born striker Ali entered the record books with his ninth goal of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, eclipsing the eight scored by Iranian great Ali Daei in the 1996 edition.

But Qatar's coach Felix Sanchez said he was not anxious about potential sanctions.

Almoez Ali scored a tournament-record nine goals and the Maroons conceded only once as they swept to the first continental title in their history, beating Japan 3-1 in the final.

An hour after announcing the review of the complaint into Qatar, the AFC's newsletter was headlined: "Excitement builds towards a thrilling finale".

Their fans have been unable to travel across the Gulf to support the team because of the current political rift between Qatar and the UAE and the players appear determined to take a first major worldwide trophy home to them.

Japan's forward Takumi Minamino, right, challenges Qatar's defender Assim Madibo, left, during the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar in Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. They made plenty of noise throughout and at full-time could celebrate the sweetest of victories with the players.

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"But I would mention that if (the tournament) is broadcast all over the world, you don't want to see any stupid things, especially after the game", he added.

Had the AFC's disciplinary panel sided with the Asian Cup host nation, the sanction would have been to overturn Qatar's 4-0 win as a 3-0 loss by forfeit and disqualification from the final.

"When we arrived to play in the AFC Asian Cup, our target was to test ourselves against everyone, to be able to compete against all the teams here, and to be able to hold our own against the very best in Asia", Sanchez said yesterday.

Japan's upset of title favourites Iran also came close to boiling over, with Yoshida himself needing to be restrained by team mates after reacting furiously to a petulant slap from Sardar Azmoun.

"(It) doesn't matter what happens tomorrow, we are feeling very proud about them, because they are showing very high level in this competition playing against top teams.

"There's always news about this person and that person but we're focused on our work and we have the full support of the QFA".

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