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Jordan tame Syria to reach Asian Cup knockouts

King, Crown Prince invite municipal worker to watch Nashama’s football game

By JT , AFP - Jan 10,2019 - Last updated at Jan 10,2019

His Majesty King Abdullah and Crown Prince Hussein, joined by municipal worker Khalid Shomali, watch Thursday’s football game against Syria, in which Nashama won 2-0 to become the first team to qualify for the Asia Cup knockouts (Photo courtesy of Royal Court)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah and HRH Crown Prince Hussein on Thursday invited municipal worker Khalid Shomali to join them in watching Nashama’s Asia Cup football game in which Jordan won a bruising derby with Syria 2-0 to become the first team to reach the knockout stages.

In a rowdy atmosphere at a packed Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium, first-half goals from Mousa Mohammad Suleiman and Tareq Khattab gave Jordan a maximum six points in Group B with one game to go against Palestine.

Vital Borkelmans' team, which stunned defending champion Australia in its first game, could soon be joined in the last 16 by surprise package India, which faces hosts UAE later in Group A.

"We know where we are coming from — from very low. And we changed a lot of things," said Borkelmans, a former Belgium assistant coach who joined Jordan last year.

"Before, nobody believed in these players but now at this moment I think all the media and the Jordan people believe that they have a good team," he added.

At a raucous Khalifa Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, Jordan slowly asserted dominance and could have scored when Suleiman's mazy run prised open Syria's defence, but Yousef Rawshdeh's shot sailed over.

But on 26 minutes, after a break down the left, the two combined again when Suleiman stabbed home Rawshdeh's shot from close range, triggering deafening celebrations.

Tareq Khattab doubled Jordan's lead two minutes from half-time, when he bundled past Syrian captain Omar Al Soma to nod in a corner at the near post.

Syria's Omar Khrbin came close twice after the break, once when his free header cleared the bar and again when he unleashed a shot which went just wide.

Tempers flared when Jehad Al Baour pulled back Suleiman during a break and a shoving match developed on the touchline, egged on by the crowd.

Saeed Al Murjan's lunge to get on the end of a free kick was somehow kept out by Syrian 'keeper Ibrahim Alma, but the job was already done for Jordan, which celebrated joyously with its fans at the final whistle.

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