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Jordan counting on coaches for lift after disappointment

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Baha Faisal-Jordan

Changshu: Baha Faisal believes Jordan’s coaching staff will be able to lift his team’s spirits after their demoralising draw with Saudi Arabia in the opening round of Group C fixtures at the AFC U23 Championship 2018 on Wednesday.

Jordan led 2-0 going into the final five minutes plus injury time thanks to a pair of goals from Faisal, only for the Saudis to score twice ahead of the final whistle to salvage an unlikely share of the points.

Faisal was left frustrated by the result, but is confident the Jordanians will be able to bounce back in their game against Malaysia on Saturday.

"I think a draw is not a fair result,” he said. “To be leading 2-0 until the 85th minute and finish the match with a draw is not a good thing for us. The individual mistakes and the lack of concentration offensively and defensively cost us.

"But the technical staff are capable of getting the players out of this mental situation, and to prepare us mentally and physically for the match against Malaysia. We will work hard to get a win in our second match to get the three points, and then after that we will think about scoring a good number of goals to boost our goal difference situation.”

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Faisal gave Jordan the lead just 12 minutes into the game in Changshu when his hassling of the Saudi defence forced an error that allowed him to run in on goal before slotting home an assured finish.

His second, 12 minutes from time, came from nothing as he turned to unleash a 25-yard drive that gave Saudi goalkeeper Amin Al Bukhari little chance.

“Baha was outstanding I thought,” said Jordan coach Iain Brunskill after the game. “He’s the captain of the team, he leads by example. He plays on the edge a little bit but that’s part of his good attributes. 

“He did very well for the first goal, closing them down. We were trying to press Saudi in that middle part of the field and that’s how the first goal came, because he had a long way to travel. The second was an outstanding goal. 

“He’s got the experience. He was Jordan’s top scorer two years ago. I’m really happy with his performance, but we expect that from him. He’s a senior player for Jordan, he worked very hard and he’s hugely disappointed at the end of the game, as I would be if I scored two goals and didn’t win.”

While Faisal was not on the winning side despite his brace, the 22-year-old remains determined to score the goals that will take the Jordanians deep into the competition.

"I personally work hard to enhance my physical abilities so that I can meet the national team coaches’ expectations,” he said. 

“I promise the fans that I will continue to help us get good results and score goals in this tournament.”