Jordan upset Australia in World Cup qualifier; Japan crush Syria
SEOUL, South Korea —
Jordan scored twice in the second half to upset continental champion Australia 2-0 on Thursday and move atop Group B in the second round of Asian qualifying for the World Cup.
The result, in front of a passionate home crowd in Amman, gave Jordan a one point lead over the Socceroos with four games remaining.
Jordan’s pace troubled the Asian Cup winners for most of the game and the hosts took the lead two minutes into the second half when Hassan Abdel Fattah blasted a penalty high into the Australian net after a Matthew Spiranovic foul in the area.
With five minutes remaining, Hamza Al Dardour sealed the win for Jordan, which also defeated the Socceroos in qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
In other qualifiers, AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda and Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki scored second-half goals as Japan beat Syria 3-0 to take top spot in Group E.
After a frustrating first half in Oman, where Syria plays its home games for security reasons, Japan lifted the intensity after the break.
Japan took the lead soon early in the second half after Okazaki was fouled in the area. Honda stroked home the spot kick and Okazaki scored from close range soon after to make it 2-0. Former Bayern Munich forward Takashi Usami sealed the win late in the game.
”We knew this would be a tough game for us,” Japan’s Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic said after the game. ”We came through it and now can look forward to the next challenge.”
The win puts Japan a point clear of Syria and two ahead of Singapore, which had a 1-0 win over Afghanistan.
It was an encouraging night overall for southeast Asian football. Iraq needed an injury-time penalty from Younis Mahmoud to salvage a 1-1 draw in Vietnam and move two points behind Group F leader Thailand.
North Korea’s winning streak in World Cup qualifying came to an end with a 0-0 draw against the Philippines.
The North Koreans lead Group H with 10 points from four games.
An injury-time goal from Abu Nahyeh gave Palestine a 1-1 draw against East Timor. Turkmenistan defeated India 2-1, Maldives defeated Bhutan 4-3 and Lebanon beat Myanmar 2-0.
The top team from each of the eight groups and the best four second-place teams advance to the next round of qualifying.