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Amman: Jordan coach Abdullah Mesfer feels his side are well on the way to securing qualification for a third consecutive AFC Asian Cup after beginning their 2019 bid with a 7-0 home win over Cambodia on Tuesday.

Hamza Al Dardour netted a hat-trick, while Yaseen Bakheet, Odai Al Saify, Ahmad Saleh and Mousa Mohammad were also on target at the King Abdullah II International Stadium, as Jordan took control of Group C after Afghanistan shared a 1-1 draw with Vietnam in Dushanbe in their opener.

Jordan next travel to Vietnam in June, with the top two finishers in the final round of qualifiers securing progress to the finals in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

“I want to thank the players for the excellent performance and the big result that we had. I hope that continues with the performance that we had in the next matches as we are aiming to qualify to the finals,” said former UAE coach Mesfer, who was appointed in December.

“We didn’t have good preparation, and despite that, we achieved what we wanted and had a good performance.

“In the match, we wanted to get the three points and we didn’t care much about the big result.”

Jordan, who earned direct qualification for the final round of qualifiers having finished second behind Australia during the previous stage, failed to progress from the group stage in Australia 2015 having reached the quarter-finals in Qatar four years earlier.

“Before the match today, the chances were even but after the big win, our chances became better,” added Mesfer.

“We have the next match against Vietnam who are a good side and we must respect all our opponents in the qualifiers.”

Vietnam will be also hopeful of qualification after the opening round of fixtures after claiming a point from their away tie against Afghanistan as they seek to return to the AFC Asian Cup for the first time since co-hosting the 2007 tournament and reaching the quarter-finals.

Nguyen Van Toan had opened the scoring for Vietnam at the Republican Central Stadium with a close range follow-up header four minutes after the hour mark only for Afghanistan to equalise just five minutes later as Hassan Amin netted a spectacular first-time strike from the edge of the penalty area.

“We achieved an important point tonight. It’s always good to claim a point in an away game in the qualifying stages,” said Vietnam coach Nguyen Huu Thang (pictured above).

“We had an advantage in the beginning before Afghanistan tried to go to on the attack. I think we controlled the game and created more chances than our opponent, but we didn’t use them by turning them into goals.”

The draw with Vietnam represented a first competitive outing as Afghanistan coach for Otto Pfister after the German was appointed in February following the resignation of Petar Segrt.

Afghanistan, who also automatically qualified for the final round, continue their campaign in Cambodia in June.

“We are working to improve team ability now and we should progress step by step,” said Afghanistan coach Pfister.

“The players fought hard on the pitch tonight and had good motivation. Vietnam has more experience, but we showed good things too.

“We conceded a goal first, but we could equalise and kept in the match. Our target is to improve the team and achieve good results.”

Photos: Jordan Football Association