Qatar, Jordan chase history during AFC Asian Cup final on Saturday

Qatar, Jordan chase history during AFC Asian Cup final on Saturday

QLNews
By QLNews

On a day the entire country has been praying and looking forward to, Qatar will take on Jordan in the final of the AFC Asian Cup at the Lusail Stadium.

One game separates Qatar from joining a small, elite list of nations — South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Japan — to have won the continental title on back-to-back occasions. The stakes are high for Jordan too, as this is their first appearance in a major final.

Qatar will have the home advantage and support of fans, but Jordan has been exceptional in their defence and flair for counterattacks.

Qatar will depend on their attacking trio of Akram Afif, Almoez Ali and Hasan Al Haydos to make inroads into the rival defence. If the three can fire on all cylinders, history could be scripted tonight by the Al Annabi.

Here is a look at how the two teams are preparing for the contest ahead.   

QATAR VS JORDAN

Kick-off: 6:00pm
Venue: Lusail Stadium

The 2023 AFC Asian Cup final between Jordan and Qatar is set to be a titanic battle, with both teams seeking to create history at the Lusail Stadium on Saturday.

Jordan are aiming to become AFC Asian Cup champions for the first time, while Qatar are striving to be only the fifth nation to win back-to-back titles.

Jordan are in uncharted territory, finding themselves in a major final for the first time, but their journey to this stage has been marked by incredible fighting spirit.

Hussein Ammouta’s side showed resilience to edge Iraq in the Round of 16 and Tajikistan in the quarterfinals before producing a sparkling performance to defeat South Korea to reach the final.

“We don’t need to explain how important the final is, as both teams want to win a historical title. We prepare for the final as normal, without adding any more pressure on the players, and we hope to produce a performance that reflects our team’s level, and what we produced to reach the final. This match is very important and may witness the first major title for Jordan football,” said head coach Ammouta.

“I’m very satisfied with our achievement. It was a personal challenge for me to take Jordan to the final, and I’ve achieved what I aimed for. We’ll have a full squad despite some minor injuries, but the players will be ready.”

Despite having beaten Qatar 2-1 in a pre-tournament friendly, Ammouta said the defending champions will be a formidable challenge, especially with the backing of their fans.

“Qatar are defending champions and playing at home, making them formidable opponents. It isn’t easy to play against them. It isn’t easy to achieve what they’ve done.

“We played a friendly (before the tournament), and it was challenging to secure the win against Qatar. Despite anticipating difficulty, we’re all united in aiming to cross the finish line successfully. We aim to exceed expectations.”

Qatar, in reaching their second successive AFC Asian Cup final, have been in terrific form, and head coach Marquez Lopez firmly believes his team will deliver their best performance in the final.

“It was a short turnaround, with players having only two days to recover after the semifinal (against Iran). Rest and recovery were crucial, especially considering we’re facing a team we highly respect,” said Lopez.

“I’m confident all my players are more than capable and deserving of playing in this tournament. I’ve always emphasised knowing each player’s strengths and how they can contribute. Every player has played a role in getting us to where we’re now. This is a fundamental part of our philosophy.”

Akram Afif, Almoez Ali and Hasan Al Haydos have been inspirational for Qatar, and Lopez expressed his gratitude to the trio.

“Players aren’t machines; they run and play hard. It’s normal for their performance to fluctuate. Iran made a comeback and almost scored, but we also had chances to score. No player can maintain peak performance for 90 minutes, but we were giving our best to secure the win.”

“In the final, there will always be pressure, especially against a team that has performed well throughout the tournament. However, we’re here with the same courage and determination, aspiring only to win. That’s what matters most to us.

“Ultimately, competition drives us, and each of us aims to emerge victorious. Ammouta is exceptional, having experience coaching in Qatar. We’re determined to compete fiercely and play our best to win the match. Second place will not be enough – we aim to be the best in Asia,” he signed off.

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