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Jordan edge out Syria to set up quarter-final clash with Uzbekistan clash at AFC Asian Cup

Jordan set up a quarter-final clash with Uzbekistan after coming from behind to beat neighbours Syria 2-1 in a Group B AFC Asian Cup clash.
Unbeaten Jordan, who are competing at the continental championships for only the second time, join group winners Japan in the next round after they thrashed a demoralised Saudi Arabia 5-0.

Mohamad Al Zino deservedly put Syria in front but an own goal from c and a second half winner from Odai Al Saify sealed the victory for Jordan, who needed to draw or win to advance.

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In Jordan's only previous Asian Cup appearance, in 2004, they went out at the quarter-finals, but their Iraq coach Adnan Hamad hopes they can go a step further this time.

"It was very tough today and Syria had some chances, but we played well, we focused and were tactically disciplined," he said.

"We made some mistakes in the first half, but rectified that in the second period.

"Uzbekistan are very strong. We faced them in a friendly a few weeks ago and their coach told me that he wanted to meet us in the final.

"They are a strong and fast team, but it's our ambition now to reach the semi-finals."

Syria's Romanian coach Tita Valeriu lamented his team's performance in the second half.

"We started very well in the first 25 minutes and scored, but it was a tough match and Jordan equalised through an error. It was a gift, a big gift," he said.

"In the second half we made a lot of mistakes and Jordan played well. We made mistakes and after the second goal we just went from bad to worse.

"But that's football. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

Syria piled on the pressure from the outset and took the lead on 15 minutes, as Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi could only parry Sanharib Malki's shot into the path of Al Zino.

Al Zino followed up to gleefully fire into an open goal from six-yards out. And he should have put a rampant Syria 2-0 up four minutes later, but managed to guide a free header well over Shafi's bar.

As the group stood at that stage, Syria were going through and their neighbours were heading out and Syria's fans celebrated with a Mexican wave.

But on 30 minutes and against the run of play, Jordan equalised, as Syria defender Dyab rose to meet an innocuous cross from Amer Deeb, Dyab's header looping into the net with goalkeeper Mosab Balhous grasping at air.

With the night closing in and the rain starting to fall, Jordan carried the momentum into the second half.

And just before the hour Jordan were ahead and within touching distance of the last eight as Shafi's long punt upfield somehow made it all the way through the middle for Al Saify to lob the ball over the advancing goalkeeper.

Syria threw on another forward, conscious they needed to score twice to keep their hopes alive, but they rarely troubled Jordan.
 



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