Twitter reacts as Qatar beat Japan to lift Asian Cup trophy
Although the odds were in Japan's favour, the Blue Samurais lost the finals of the AFC Asian Cup to Qatar in the first meeting between both sides. The Maroons got off to the great start in the match by opening the scoring in the 12th minute. Almoez Ali controlled the ball excellently before single-handledly delivered a perfect bicycle kick into Japan's net. There was little chance for Shuichi Gonda, Japan's goalkeeper, to save that.
Japan tried their best to fight back as they started to create more chances for themselves. However, Qatar's swift counter-attacks meant that they were equally dangerous. It did not take long for the Middle-East nation to double their lead through another excellent shot. This time around, it came from Abdulaziz Hatem. The 28-year-old's powerful shot went into the top corner of Japan's net, leaving Gonda helpless.
The World Cup participants looked slightly jaded at being two goals down within 30 minutes. They had never been two goals down at any stage of the competition before they met Qatar. Credit to their head coach, Felix Sanchez, it was a surprise that the Qataris had managed to beat South Korea in the quarter-finals days ago.
South Korea and Japan were both favorites to lift the trophy, and most importantly, the Koreans had beaten Germany in the World Cup and lifted the 2018 Asian Games trophy.
The Samurais had a chance to get back into the game when Takumi Minamino pulled one back for his side in the 69th minute. There was a glimmer of hope in the eyes of the Japanese fans who were watching the match at the stadium. Soon, their hopes were dampened after Maya Yoshida's handball gave away a penalty to his opponents. It was the first time the Video Assistant Referee was used in the finals, and eventually, a penalty was awarded to Qatar. Sanchez's men made no mistake in converting the penalty and the result of the match ended 1-3 in favor of Qatar.
The underdogs of the match, who went in with all the courage they had, had beaten a big team like Japan. It is the first time that the Qataris have lifted the trophy.
Here's how Twitter reacted to the news.