MD1 - Group B: Chinese Taipei 1-2 Jordan
Taipei: Jordan survived a late scare to make a winning start to the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Thursday as Vital Borkelmans’ side claimed a 2-1 win over Chinese Taipei in challenging conditions.
Baha Faisal and Ahmad Sameer had given the Jordanians a two-goal cushion by the halftime break on a rain-soaked pitch before Weh Chih-hao’s strike for Chinese Taipei ensured a nervous final nine minutes plus stoppage time before Jordan confirmed their opening win in Group B.
Heavy rain over the preceding two days made the pitch at the Taipei Municipal Stadium a challenge for both sides, but Borkelmans’ side brushed those difficulties aside to take a two-goal lead into the half-time break.
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Faisal netted the first with 19 minutes on the clock when he poked the ball home from close range after Pan Wen-cheih had denied Mousa Al Taamari’s initial goalward effort, and that strike threatened to open the floodgates as Jordan sought to kill the game.
Baha Abdelrahman forced Pan to spring into action to push his deflected effort from outside the area over the bar, while Faisal went close to claiming a second when his close-range overhead clipped the top of the crossbar after the home defence failed to clear an Al Taamari corner.
With eight minutes remaining in the half Jordan added a deserved second, with Ahmad Ersan’s pace down the right causing difficulties for the Chinese Taipei defence. While his low centre was pushed to the edge of the area by Pan, Sameer sent the ball back past the goalkeeper with interest with a well-taken low strike.
Jordan continued to press, with Pan keeping out Al Taamari’s curler and Faisal heading just over before the half-time break while Abdelrahman smashed his long-range free-kick over the bar soon after the restart.
Chinese Taipei coach Louis Lancaster introduced Will Donkin 13 minutes into the second half in an attempt to find a way back into the game and the former Crystal Palace midfielder’s pace brought the home side some hope.
Jordan looked set to see the game out, and were unfortunate not to add to their tally when Pan pulled off a spectacular save 16 minutes from time when he flung himself at full stretch to keep out Faisal’s curling effort from outside the area.
A late goal from Weh Chih-hao, who swept the ball home from just inside the Jordan penalty area nine minutes from time, gave the hosts belief they could claim an equaliser, but as the heavy rain fell the visitors held on to take all three points.
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