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Jordan first to advance to knockouts
January 11, 2019
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Al Ain: Jordan became the first team to advance to the knockout rounds of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on Thursday evening as Vital Borkelmans’ side handed Syria a 2-0 defeat in Al Ain to seal their spot in the Round of 16.

The win, courtesy of goals from Mousa Suleiman and Tareq Khattab, means Borkelmans and his team can finish no lower than second in Group A no matter the outcome of the remaining games in the group.

Australia face Palestine in Abu Dhabi on Friday before Jordan take on the Palestinians in their final group game on January 15, when the Socceroos go head-to-head with the Syrians in Al Ain.

Always dangerous

In front of a buoyant Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, the Jordanians always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, with Yaseen Bakheet’s pace down the left and Yousef Rawshdeh’s penetration keeping the Syrian defence occupied, while Suleiman provided the threat in front of goal.

Suleiman sent his early effort wide and Rawshdeh should have done better with his attempt just after the midway point when he fired well off target.

Syria, for their part, dominated possession but, with Omar Al Soma often isolated, Bernd Stange’s side fashioned little of note in the final third of the pitch.

Lead doubled

As a result, the Jordanians always looked the more likely to take the lead and the opener came in the 26th minute when Bakheet cut the ball back from the left to Rawshdeh and his low driven centre was steered home at pace by Suleiman.

Three minutes later Jordan should have doubled their lead as Bakheet found Suleiman, only for his effort to bounce off the turf before clearing the crossbar.

The second eventually came two minutes before the interval, and this time from a set-play similar to the one that opened up Australia in Jordan’s first game. Baha Abdelrahman’s short corner to Suleiman was whipped into the area and Khattab held off the Syrian defence to head home at the near post.

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