The Equation: All to play for in Group B after Palestine and Syria stalemate
The Socceroos may not have gotten the result they wanted against Jordan in the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™, but Palestine and Syria’s stalemate, plus the fact there are still two matches remaining in the group phase, puts Australia in a position where everything is still to play for.
Syria dominated Jordan in the opening stanza, and even played the last 20 minutes with an extra man when Mohammed Saleh was given his second yellow card of the evening.
However, the Lions of Canaan dug deep and held on for a 0-0 draw.
How things stand
Following Australia’s result against Jordan, and Syria’s 0-0 draw with Palestine, the Group B ladder is so:
Jordan - 3 points
Palestine - 1 point
Syria - 1 point
Australia - 0 points
Jordan face Syria on Friday, January 11 at 12:30am AEDT, while the Socceroos do battle with Palestine later that evening at 10pm AEDT.
A win for Jordan would seal their qualification to the next round, while a draw or loss would create a bottleneck at the top.
For Australia, a win would take them one step closer to a place in the knockout round, and a perfect platform on which to build before they take on Syria in the final Group B fixture.
While a win against Palestine would be ideal for the Socceroos, a draw keeps the side in contention for a place in the Round of 16 — though it would almost certainly require a win against Syria.
What can we expect for Palestine?
Palestine are competing in the second ever AFC Asian Cup™ following their maiden appearance in the 2015 installment in Australia.
Noureddine Ould Ali’s side are ranked 99 in the world, but have cast their net far and wide to recruit players into their national team.
Players such as Jaka Ihbeisheh — born in Slovenia but with a Palestinian father — and Nazmi Albadawi, who was born and raised in North Carolina in the United States, are just some of the players who represent the side.