AIMOEZ ALI scored with a spectacular overhead kick for a record ninth goal of the Asia Cup to set Qatar on their way to a first continental title with a stunning 3-1  win over four times champions Japan on Friday.

Ali's early goal took him past Ali Dea's 1996 telly and, combined with a 27th minute strike from Abdulaziz Hatem and a late Akram Afif penalty, helped the Qataris make an emphatic statement ahead of their hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

Sundan born Ali's record goal came after a protest by the host United Emirates FA into his eligibility to represent Qatar was dismissed by the Asian Football Confederation only a few hours before a kickoff.

Japan finally found a way through a Qatar defence that has not conceded in six previous matches when Takumi Minamino scored the in the 69th minute but the penalty condemned the Samurai Blue to their first defeat in an Asian Cup Final.

The victory was celebrated wildly by thousands of Omanis who had turned out to support Qatar in the absence of their own fans, who were unable to travel because of a deep political rift with the U.A.E.

Japan, chasing a record record-extending fifth title, started as brighter, but the Qataris who drew the first blood through the prolific Ali, was later named Player of the Tournament.


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