Amman, Jordan: Jordan stunned Australia 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, dealing a serious blow to the Socceroos’ hopes of reaching the tournament in Brazil.
Jordan, who have never reached a World Cup and are ranked 87th in the world, opened the scoring courtesy of a 50th-minute penalty from Hassan Abdul Fattah after Australia’s Matt Mckay tackled Oday Al Saifi in the penalty area. They doubled their lead in the 72nd, when Al Saifi penetrated the Australian defence and slipped a pass to Amer Deeb, who scored the second.
Australia pulled a goal back five minutes from time, when Archie Thompson stole the ball just outside the area and fired a low shot past diving keeper Amer Shafi. The visitors continued to pepper the Jordan goal, but Shafi was up to the task and denied the Socceroos several times.
“It is just an amazing match for us and winning four points is absolutely precious for Jordan,” Deeb said. “Nothing can express the way we feel today.”
With the victory, Jordan move into second place in Group B behind Japan with four points. Australia remain tied with Iraq and Oman on two points.
“The match was not easy. We tried our best to control the tempo and avoided scoring quickly because we wanted to control the proceedings and we managed to do so,” Jordan coach Adnan Hamad said.
“I’m satisfied with the performance of our players, who put in a great effort despite the injuries they suffered before the game. We still have a long road to go and hopefully we can continue and build on this momentum that we got from tonight’s important victory.”
Australia coach Holger Osieck’s said his team were still very much alive in qualifying but the German said his players will have to improve their play significantly.
“Jordan were lucky tonight as we had a lot of chances to score but their goalkeeper had a good performance and prevented us from scoring on different occasions,” Osieck said.
“We made some mistakes which have cost us the three points and our players didn’t perform well overall. But despite the defeat, we are still in contention and we will try to make a good comeback in our next matches.”
Elsewhere, Japan strengthened their iron grip on Group B, but Iran were sent spinning to their first ever defeat to outsiders Lebanon in Group A.
As Japan beat Iraq 1-0 in Saitama, Group A leaders South Korea were held to a pulsating 2-2 draw by Uzbekistan.
Lebanon had Shandong Luneng midfielder Roda Antar to thank for a famous 1-0 win over Iran that raised hopes of an unlikely World Cup berth.
In the 28th minute in Beirut, China-based Antar rose to head home a free-kick, a goal that proved enough to lift Lebanon off the foot of Group A and put them three points behind pace-setters South Korea.