Thursday , February 22 2024

Jordan score twice at the death to surge into Asian Cup last eight

Jordan will meet tournament debutants Tajikistan in the Asian Cup quarter-finals after scoring twice in three minutes deep in stoppage time to stun Iraq 3-2 in a thriller on Monday.

Lower-ranked Jordan looked down and out heading into injury time at the end of the game only for Yazan Al-Arab to prod in for a 95th-minute leveller.

If that was hard to believe, better was to come two minutes later when Nizar Al-Rashdan curled in from distance to fire Jordan into the last eight.

Iraq were left heartbroken and shell-shocked, having gone into the dying minutes dreaming of repeating their fairytale 2007 Asian Cup title triumph.

Jordan face a Tajikistan side in the last eight who are one of the shocks of the competition on their debut.

In Monday’s other last-16 game, hosts and holders Qatar face Palestine.

Jordan were the underdogs and ranked 24 places lower than Iraq but were the better side in an eventful first half.

Midway through the first period striker Ali Olwan was denied when he shot straight at Jalal Hassan with only the Iraqi goalkeeper to beat.

The stopper had to be alert on another occasion, rushing out of his box to bravely head the ball away from danger as a Jordan attacker bore down.

In front of a raucous crowd at the 45,000-capacity Khalifa International Stadium, Iraqi midfielder Ibrahim Bayesh stung the fingertips of goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila from outside the box.

Seven minutes from the break, Jordan — who held South Korea 2-2 in the group phase — manufactured another opportunity when Mousa Al-Tamari bustled his way through the Iraqi defense.

The Montpellier attacker outmuscled two defenders but again found goalkeeper Hassan in the way.

In the first minute of injury time Jordan deservedly took the lead.

The Iraq defense sloppily presented Yazan Al-Naimat with the ball and he raced toward goal before chipping over a flailing and overworked Hassan.

Iraq, who defeated pre-tournament favorites Japan 2-1 in the group stage, went on the attack after the break.

Abulaila denied Bayesh with another spectacular save but Iraq’s pressure paid off in the 68th minute when defender Saad Natiq nodded down and in from a corner for the equalizer.

Jordan went right up the other end and flashed an effort across goal, before Aymen Hussein controlled the ball unmarked in the box and thrashed for 2-1 and what he thought was Iraq’s winner in the 76th minute.

It was his sixth goal of the tournament but he was promptly given a second yellow card for over-celebrating and sent off.

Then came Jordan’s quickfire double at the death to leave Iraq reeling.

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