AFC Asian Cup 2019: Jordan inflict shock 1-0 defeat on reigning champions Australia

Asian Cup Australia Jordan

Defending champions Australia suffered a shock upset in their AFC Asian Cup 2019 opener at the hands of Jordan in Group B as the Arab nation recorded a narrow 1-0 victory at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain on Sunday. 

The Socceroos were shell-shocked when experienced centre-back Anas Bani Yaseen punished the sleeping Aussies defence giving the Jordanians the lead in the 26th minute. And that goal proved to be the difference between the two sides as the reigning champions looked lost for ideas for the most part of the game.

The first opportunity of the match fell to Jordan at the end of a quick counter as right-winger Yousel Al-Rawashdeh’s sharp drive from 20 yards out forced Aussies custodian Mathew Ryan to dive to his left to save in the 11th minute. Two minutes later, there was a chance at the opposite end when Awer Mabil produced a save from Amer Shafi.

However, the Socceroos will soon be stunned as Jordan took the lead in the 26th minute from a corner kick. It looked as if the Australian defence went into sleep as Baha’ Abdel-Rahman’s inswinging corner was directed into the back of the net by an unmarked Anas!

Going down, a startled Australia lost their discipline as they conceded a free kick at the edge of the box when Trent Sainsbury brought down Musa Al-Taamari moments later earning him a yellow card. Yemen almost made Australia pay for the mistake only for Ryan to tip Baha’s freekick onto the crossbar.

Australia looked pretty much sterile in the attack for the rest of the half and closest they came to threatening was with a penalty appeal in the 44th minute which the referee refused to give. Robbie Kruse’s cross looked to have hit the hand of Jordan full-back Feras Shelbaieh but the decision didn’t go Australia’s way much to the dismay of Graham Arnold.

The Socceroos coach sprang changes in the second half bringing in Rhyan Grant for right-back Joshua Risdon, who was at fault for the goal, at half-time and also Chris Ikonomidis 1o minutes later. And the changes looked to have brought some life into their attack as Jordan were forced into the defensive.

In the 62nd minute, Tom Rogic, largely anonymous in the game, let fly from distance, but Jordan custodian Shafi was at hand to parry it away to safety. 10 minutes later, the Celtic midfielder was once again at the end of a gilt-edged chance, but ballooned his left-footed effort from a cross in by Aziz Behich.

There were some nervy moments for Jordan towards the dying moments of the game. Mabil, the FC Midtjylland winger who was the brightest spark for Australia in the game, managed to make some space inside the box in the 78th minute and fire in a shot which rattled the upright and returned to play.

 

With each passing minute, Australia were clearly feeling the absence of the likes of Aaron Mooy and Daniel Arzani who miss the continental showpiece with injuries. Jamie Maclaren had the ball in the back of the net for Australia in the 87th minute, but the striker’s effort was ruled out for offside.

And that was the closest the Socceroos came as they will now go into their second group match against Palestine at the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on January 11. Meanwhile, for Jordanians, they will head to face Syria on January 10 with bags of confidence.

AUSTRALIA: Mathew Ryan, Aziz Behich, Trent Sainsbury, Milos Degenek, Joshua Risdon, Massimo Luongo, Tom Rogic, Mark Milligan, Robbie Kruse, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil.

JORDAN: Amer Shafi, Feras Shelbaieh, Tareq Khattab, Anas Bani Yaseen, Salem Al-Ajalin, Baha’ Abdel-Rahman, Saeed Murjan, Yousef Al-Rawashdeh, Yaseen Al-Bakhit, Khalil Bani Attiah, Musa Al-Taamari

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