Asian Cup 2019: Jordan kick-off Asian Cup campaign with win against Australia

Asian Cup 2019: Jordan kick-off Asian Cup campaign with win against Australia
2 min read
07 Jan, 2019
Jordan pulled off a historic win against Australia in the Asian Cup on Sunday.
Jordan achieved a historic win on Sunday [Getty]

Sunday, the second day of the Asian Cup, saw Levantine national teams starting off their campaigns and producing some surprising results.

The first shock result of the day arrived early on Sunday afternoon when Jordan stunned reigning champions Australia, with a 1-0 victory at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in al-Ain.

The Jordanians defended well, and went out on lethal counter-attacks - looking sharp throughout the 90 minutes of play. The Socceroos, on the other hand, couldn't find an answer to Musa al-Taamari - "the Jordanian Salah" - who tricked the Aussie defenders again-and-again. Taamari also provided the assist Anas Bani Yaseen need for a goal, after a perfect corner in the first-half.

Legendary goalkeeper Amer Shafi contributed a few heroic saves in the dying minutes of the game to secure Jordan's victory. On the other side of the pitch, Matt Ryan, the Australian keeper, wasn't too bad either, but his friends out-field simply weren't focused - at times, the team didn't seem to be in the mood for playing football.

With this win, Jordan have become Australia's true nemesis, after they managed to beat them team for a second time in-a-row, with the Nashama ("brave men") overcoming the Aussies 2-0 in 2015.

This win for Jordan makes things in Group B look a bit complicated, but it turned even more so when Syria and Palestine played in Sharjah.

Up to 18,000 Palestinian and Syrian fans gathered in the stands at the Sharjah Stadium, in what was the first match in the competition that could be described as having a sizzling atmosphere.

The Syrians opened strongly, but somehow - and mainly thanks to Abdelatif al-Bahdari and Rami Hamadeh - Palestine managed to keep a clean sheet.

Even when defender Mohammed Saleh was sent-off with a second yellow after a foul against Omar Khribin, nothing changes the focus and defensive mode of the Palestinian captain and his teammates, who protected their goal with great sacrifice.

A historical 0-0 draw meant the first point ever for Palestine in the Asian Cup - also Palestine's first ever point in an official tournament.

Group B is heating up, and we are just on the second day of the tournament.


Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here.