Talking points from the week in Asian football:
AFIF SPOT-KICK HAT-TRICK COMPLETES QATAR’S ASIAN CUP DEFENCE Qatar successfully defended their Asian Cup title as a hat-trick of penalties from Akram Afif saw the tournament hosts hand Jordan a 3-1 defeat in the final at Lusail Stadium on Saturday.
The title is Qatar’s second having won the trophy for the first time in 2019 and they become the first nation to complete back-to-back wins since Japan in 2004. Afif put Qatar in front in the 22nd minute but Yazan Al-Naimat levelled midway through the second half, only for Afif to strike twice more from the spot in the 73rd and 95th minutes to seal victory for Marquez Lopez’s side.
FORMER ENGLAND MIDFIELDER LINGARD SIGNS FOR FC SEOUL Former England and Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard joined South Korean side FC Seoul on a two-year deal on Thursday, the best-known foreign player ever signed by a K League club.
The 31-year-old, a World Cup semi-finalist with England and Europa League winner with United, has been a free agent since leaving Nottingham Forest at the end of last season. “I’ve always wanted different challenges and to create new memories in my career, and I believe being in South Korea is the perfect place for that,” Lingard said.
WELLINGTON DOWN WESTERN UNITED TO EXTEND A-LEAGUE ADVANTAGE Wellington Phoenix extended their lead at the top of the A-League standings to five points on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Western United as chasers Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory both lost.
Nicholas Pennington gave Giancarlo Italiano’s side the lead in the third minute against Wellington and James Donaghie’s 47th minute own goal made the points safe as Phoenix moved onto 33 points from 17 games. Central Coast remain in second on 28 points after their 3-1 loss to Sydney FC, level with Melbourne Victory, who lost 1-0 to Macarthur FC.
AL-ITTIHAD RETURN TO WINNING WAYS WITH VICTORY OVER AL-TAI Reigning Saudi Pro League champions Al-Ittihad notched up a 3-0 win over Al-Tai on Wednesday to halt a three-game losing streak and move back up to fifth in the current standings.
Abderrazak Hamdallah’s close-range volley gave Al-Ittihad the lead in the eighth minute and Faisal Al-Ghamdi tapped in from close range three minutes before the interval to double his side’s lead. N’golo Kante slid the ball through to Brazilian striker Romarinho three minutes from time to complete the win as Al-Ittihad moved onto 31 points, 22 behind run-away leaders Al-Hilal.
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