The Socceroos have held on for a narrow 1-0 win over Jordan in their 2022 World Cup qualifier to record their first away win over the hosts.
- The Socceroos have won their first four games of World Cup qualifying
- Australia five points clear at the top of Group B, ahead of Jordan and Kuwait
- Kuwait beat Chinese Taipei 9-0 in Kuwait City
Adam Taggart’s 13th-minute chipped finish at the King Abdullah II Stadium on Thursday night allowed the Socceroos to stay top of Group B with 12 points after four wins from four starts.
“It is important to end the year on a high and it’s a tough place to come, and history has shown how difficult it is for any country to come here,” Taggart said.
“So we’re all really happy with the result and I think we’ve still go a lot to go, and there’s still a lot to build on.”
Manager Graham Arnold is proud his side resisted an attempted second-half comeback to record Australia’s first win over Jordan in the Middle East.
“We showed that we have a lot of fight in this team,” Arnold said.
“They boys worked extremely hard and closed out the game well.
“Our structure was very good, our work rate was fantastic and look, this isn’t an easy place to come and it shows in the past history.
“The Socceroos have never won here and we’re the first to do it.”
Jordan started aggressively pressing the visitors, particularly down the left where playmaker Jackson Irvine was deployed to make way for the returning Tom Rogic in the middle.
Socceroos tweet: FULL TiME We take the three points home from Jordan! #AllForTheSocceroos #AsianQualifiers #JORvAUS
But Australia was the first to strike with Irvine setting up Taggart with a neat through ball.
Irvine threaded a perfectly weighted pass between the opposing centre-backs and Suwon Bluewings forward Taggart neatly finished past goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
Irvine fluffed a glorious chance to double the lead off Aaron Mooy’s corner in the 29th minute when the ball rebounded into his feet just outside the six-yard box, only for him to smash it over the crossbar.
World Cup qualification table
After the break, Jordan coach Vital Borkelmans brought on dangerous forward Mousa Mohammed Suleiman for midfielder Ahmed Sameer Saleh.
And the change nearly worked five minutes later when he rifled a shot over the top left corner of goal from just inside the box.
Tariq Khattab then missed a golden opportunity to level when the unmarked defender headed wide from less than five yards out.
The hosts again went close with 10 minutes remaining when Hamza Aldaradreh rose to meet Mousa’s free-kick, but Ryan made a unbelievable low dive to deny his header.
The hosts continued to push, going close twice as the clock ticked down, and they could have snatched a point in extra time.
Aldaradreh rose to meet Yaseen Al-Bakhit’s cross with only Ryan to beat, but he sent his header over, and his teammates slumped to the ground.
Borkelmans was disappointed his side was unable to capitalise.
“We put everything in our hands, we made pressure, we played nice football, we had a lot of chances, but the luck was not there,” he said.
“I’m a happy coach about my players in the second half, but we lost and everyone is disappointed.”