Asian Cup 2024: Qatar Starts Strong

By Larmax | The Finish Lines | 13 Jan 2024

The first match of the 2024 Asian Cup took place yesterday at Lusail Stadium, near Doha. After hosting the World Cup in 2022, Qatar is now welcoming teams from across its continent to compete for a prestigious trophy. The Qataris showed no mercy to their Lebanese guests, securing a 3-0 victory in a match that they controlled from start to finish.

Despite the large score, the match was not very spectacular. The Lebanese team contented themselves with defending and counterattacking but never really managed to challenge the Dark Reds (Al-Annabi in Arabic). The Cedars held on throughout the first half but conceded a goal just before halftime, in the 45th minute. It was the left winger Akram Afif, currently playing for the local club Al-Sadd and having previously been with Villarreal in Spain, who capitalized on a poorly cleared ball by the defense.

The second goal came in the 56th minute through the center-forward Al Moez Ali. This Qatari of Sudanese origin is the top scorer for his national team. He also plays for a local club, Al-Duhail SC. In the 56th minute, he headed in a cross delivered by the left-back of Al-Sadd, Mohammed Waad.

The man of the match, Akram Afif, scored a brace by delicately chipping the ball into the nets of the Lebanese goalkeeper in the 90th minute to secure the win. Qatar now tops its group and will play against Tajikistan on January 17, followed by a match against China on January 22.

As the reigning champions of the competition, with a 3-1 victory against Japan in 2019, and being the host nation, the Dark Reds are serious contenders for the cup. Their team is entirely composed of players competing in the local championship. Goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham, central defender Pedro Miguel, left-back Mohammed Waad, midfielder Yusuf Abdurisag, left winger Akram Afif, and right winger Hasan Al-Haydos all play for Al-Sadd. The rest of the team plays for Al-Duhail, Al-Wakrah, Al-Gharafa, or Al-Rayyan.

The Lebanese also predominantly play in their country's championship, for clubs such as Al-Ansar FC, Al-Ahed, or Nejmeh SC. Their two star players are the striker Bassel Jradi from True Bangkok United in Thailand and the left winger Daniel Lajud from CF Atlante, a Mexican second division club.

How do you rate this article?



31-year-old French man. Sports enthusiast, particularly passionate about tennis.

The Finish Lines
The Finish Lines

Follow the greatest achievements and the most amazing accomplishments of athletes who ignite the crowds all around the world.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.