Jordanians deal blow to Aussie World Cup hopes
Australia's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign suffered a shattering blow when they crashed to a humiliating 2-1 defeat against Jordan here on Tuesday.
Already under pressure following two consecutive draws against Oman and Japan in Group B, the Socceroos appeared overwhelmed at the packed King Abdullah Stadium where the sturdy Jordanians matched their more famous rivals man for man to clinch an historic victory.
Hassan Abdel-Fattah scored a penalty in the 51st minute and Amer Deeb struck in the 73rd for Jordan before Archie Thompson pulled one back for Australia in the 85th.
The Australians, who are aiming to make the World Cup for the third straight time, lacked a clear strategy, while the Jordanians, who have never qualified for the quadrennial event, played without any pressure and victory sent them second behind Japan.
Japan, who beat Iraq 1-0 earlier on Tuesday, have 10 points from four matches, while Jordan have four from three.
Iraq are third with two points while Australia, also with two points, are fourth on goal difference. Oman, also on two points, are fifth.
After a scrappy start the pace picked up in the second half with both teams showing more enterprise up front.
That almost brought immediate dividends for Australia when they were presented with a golden chance to score in the 46th minute, but Mile Jedinak leapt high over the Jordanian defence only to head the ball narrowly wide of the mark.
Jedinak, however, was to turn villain later when he brought down Jordan forward Odai al-Saify a metre inside the penalty area and Abdel-Fattah beat Mark Schwarzer to his left with a powerful low penalty to trigger off wild celebrations in the stands.
The referee had earlier missed another penalty when Tim Cahill appeared to have blocked the ball with his arm off a free kick awarded to Jordan in the first half.
The Australian defence lived dangerously, with the ball drifting dangerously close to the goal on a few occasions and once Schwarzer had to lunge backwards to tip away a dipping 25-yard shot from the left.
Schwarzer, however, was let down badly by his defence in the 73rd minute when the enterprising al-Saify cut in from the left and after getting past Aussie captain Lucal Neill, passed the ball back to Deeb who easily found the net from point blank range as Jordan, ranked 87th in the world, found themselves 2-0 up.
Deeb was in the thick of the action four minutes later, and with Schwarzer completely at his mercy all he should have done was lob the ball over him and into the goal. But he couldn't control the power on his shot with the result that the ball flew over the goalpost.
The desperate Aussies then threw everything into the match and Thompson took advantage of a poor clearance to shoot past Jordan goalkeeper Amer al-Shafia to reduce the deficit.
But by then it was all over for Australia as they spent the remaining few minutes fending off the Jordanians who erupted with unrestrained joy when the final whistle was blown.
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