Once more, all eyes turned to the grand Lusail Stadium as it witnessed yet another historic final, with hosts Qatar clinching their Asian Cup crown against first-time finalists Jordan.

Qatar’s beloved football icon and standout player of the tournament, Akram Afif, emerged as the hero by netting three penalties, securing Qatar’s 3-1 victory in an all-Arab AFC Asian Cup 2023 final on Saturday.

The journey for the hosts began with a solid 3-0 win over Lebanon at the same venue last month, where they weren’t outright favorites but emerged as back-to-back champions, a feat unmatched since Japan’s consecutive wins in 2000 and 2004, with Afif hailed as the continent’s top player.

Despite an inspirational run, Jordan’s heartbroken finalists exited the tournament with heads held high. The match started nervously for Jordan, struggling to convert chances, while Qatar seized the opportunity to score a penalty midway through the first half, with Afif’s unique celebration paying homage to his wife, who witnessed his game for the first time.

Jordan emerged stronger after halftime, equalizing the score, but a clumsy defense gifted Qatar another penalty, sealing Afif’s tournament Golden Boot award and leaving Jordan stunned.

Coach Hussein Ammouta highlighted the penalties’ timing as pivotal, admitting external pressures may have affected his players’ performance, as Qatar secured victory with Afif’s hat-trick, sparking celebrations across the Arab world.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani graced the match, presenting medals and the trophy adorned with the iconic black-and-gold bisht to the winning team, ensuring the trophy remains in Qatar’s possession for another four years.

As Lusail Stadium illuminated with fireworks, the celebration extended across the nation, marking another triumphant sporting event in Qatar’s illustrious journey.