Australia U23 national team survived going down to 10 men to defeat Jordan U23 national team with a score of 1-0 in the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2022 group stage, Group B at Lokomotiv Stadium, Tashkent.
Both Australia and Jordan, tied on four points coming into the match at the Lokomotiv Stadium, knew a win would see them through as group leaders, but it was the Olyroos who dominated much of the early proceedings.
Australia had their first sight on goal in the seventh minute when Lachlan Brook intercepted a pass in the final third, only to see his strike foiled by defender Omar Hani, before coming close again five minutes later.
Jordan maintained the starting lineup that had beaten Kuwait 1-0 on Matchday Two, but suffered a blow in the 24th minute when head coach Ahmed Hayel was forced to sub out the injured Mohamad Aburiziq – who scored in both their previous matches – in the 24th minute with Hamza Al Saifi coming on.
The Australians continued to have the lion’s share of possession and kept Jordan mostly within their own half, but the West Asians looked dangerous on the counter-attack with Khaled Sayaheen’s strike forcing goalkeeper Joe Gauci to make his first save of the evening in the 38th minute.
Jordan could have gone ahead in stoppage time when captain Hadi Alhourani lost his marker to connect with Amin Al Shanaina’s corner kick, but his header lacked power with Gauci smothering the ball to keep the game in a stalemate at the end of first half.
Defence was still the name of the game for Jordan in the second half, but they were able to pressure the Australian backline when Nizar Al Rashdan and Al Saifi teamed up in the final third, but Gauci was in fine form to deny Al Rashdan’s strike from the edge of the box in the 54th minute.
Australia were given a golden opportunity two minutes later when Alhourani fouled Alou Kuol in the box, and the referee didn’t hesitate in pointing at the spot, with Najjarine stepping up for the penalty.
Jordan goalkeeper Abdallah Al Fakhouri guessed correctly to parry the Western Sydney Wanderer midfielder’s strike, but the Australian was given another chance as Al Fakhouri was deemed to have to moved from the line with Najjarine making no mistake the second time around to put the Olyroos ahead in the 61st minute.
Australia could have been two goals up in the 72nd minute, but Al Fakhouri pulled off an incredible double save to first deny Cameron Peupion’s crackling free-kick, before diving to save Patrick Wood’s follow up shot.
Despite their lead, Australia went in search of another goal but their aggression backfired when substitute Tristan Hammond was shown a direct red card in the 79th minute – just six minutes after coming on – for violent conduct.
With news of Iraq on the verge of victory against Kuwait in the other Group B tie, a desperate Jordanian side pressed forward but were unable to find the breakthrough as Australia held firm to secure the win.
Credit Photo : AFC