11/02/2024 06:47 AM
Ahmad Nazrin Syahmi Mohamad Arif
Ahmad Iskandar Kamaruzaman (pix)
11/02/2024 06:47 AM

LUSAIL (Qatar), Feb 10 (Bernama) -- Jordan head coach Hussein Ammouta has described the two second-half penalties awarded to Qatar broke his team's spirit, resulting in them losing 3-1 to the hosts in the 2023 Asian Cup final at the Lusail Stadium tonight.

Qatar, also known as The Maroons, retained the crown courtesy of a hat-trick of penalties by strike sensation Akram Afif while Yazan Al-Naimat netted a consolation goal for Jordan.

Ammouta said Jordan struggled in the first half, which saw them go 1-0 down but showed tremendous character and courage to level the score and match the dynamism and excellence of the Qatari players after the break.

However, the second and third penalties awarded by referee Ma Ning of China disrupted their rhythm and prevented The Chivalrous, as Jordan are known, from getting back into the game.

"Unfortunately, tonight's match did not favour us. Throughout the first half, we lost our focus and the goal-scoring opportunities but, in the second half, we were much better and managed to get the equaliser.

"We were trying our best to get a second goal but the second and third penalties broke our spirit and prevented us from bouncing back, but that's football,” he said at the post-match press conference here.

The 54-year-old coach, who is from Morocco, did not give a straight answer about whether the referee had erred in awarding the two penalties or deserved to be given and described them as being very costly to Jordan.

Ammouta, however, was full of praise for his men for their excellent performance in reaching their first-ever Asian Cup final.

"This team have shown very good progress and, perhaps, we can win it in the coming editions,” he said.

In tonight's action, Afif scored the first two of his three penalties by planting his right-footed shots to the bottom left corner in the 22nd and 73rd minutes before nailing his third with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner in injury time (90th+5).

Yazan Al Naimat, meanwhile, scored Jordan's consolation goal in the 67th minute.