Group B: Palestine 0-0 Jordan
Abu Dhabi: Already qualified Jordan rounded off their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 group stage campaign with a 0-0 draw against Palestine on Tuesday, a result which helped maintain their unbeaten record and left their opponents waiting to see if they will claim one of the four best third-placed positions.
The stalemate made it seven points from nine for Jordan – quarter-finalists in 2004 and 2011 – as they finished top of the Group B standings to set up a Round of 16 meeting with the third-placed team from either Group A, C or D in Dubai.
With Australia dramatically beating Syria in the group’s other game, a gallant Palestine duly finished third on two points, some four points behind runners-up Australia but crucially one ahead of fourth-placed Syria.
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Minus the suspended Mousa Suleiman Al Tamari, Jordan started brightly at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Mahmoud Wadi deflecting Baha' Abdel Rahman’s free-kick narrowly wide of his own post and Ahmad Ersan forcing goalkeeper Rami Hamada into action inside the first five minutes.
Despite Jordan’s early dominance, Palestine came close to breaking the deadlock themselves in the 17th minute when custodian Amer Shafi produced a fine fingertip save to keep out Abdallatif Al Bahdari’s flicked attempt from a Tamer Seyam corner.
Abdel Rahman then flashed a shot inches over the bar from distance, before, in the final moments of the first half, Jordanian captain Shafi acrobatically punched clear with striker Mahmoud Wadi lurking.
Within six minutes of the restart, Palestine threatened again, this time Oday Dabbagh failing to find the target with a header from Musab Battat’s pinpoint delivery.
Moments later, Abdallatif Al Bahdari’s towering header from another Seyam set-piece was gathered on his line by Shafi, and Ersan’s 68th minute piledriver at the other end brought another super stop from Hamada.
It proved to be the last genuine goalmouth action on a day when Jordan, who have yet to concede in the UAE, were left to look forward to the next round and Palestine made to await their destiny.
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