Wonder strike denies Qantas Under 23's
A magnificent 30-metre strike from Jordan’s Ahmad Alzughier with five minutes to go, has robbed Australia of victory in their Olympic qualifying match played at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide tonight.
A magnificent 30-metre strike from Jordan-s Ahmad Alzughier with five minutes to go, has robbed Australia of victory in their Olympic qualifying match played at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide tonight.
Kristian Sarkies 58th minute goal looked set to give the Qantas Under 23-s all three points, but they didn-t count on the Jordanian-s left foot shot crashing into the top corner of the goal, with Danny Vukovic having no chance of saving.
Australia though still had chances to grab the win, with both substitute Troy Hearfield and Adrian Leijer both having efforts hit the crossbar in the dying minutes, while Bruce Djite with virtually the last kick of the game, hit a shot just high and wide.
That told the story of the night for the local side, who failed to put the finishing polish on a number of good opportunities, with the woodwork hit three times
The night did not start well either for Australia, with captain Mark Milligan failing to overcome a nagging hamstring injury. That saw his Sydney FC team mate Nikolai Topor-Stanley move in a central defence role, with Newcastle-s Adam D-Apuzzo coming into the starting side on the left. Vukovic took over the captain-s armband for the night.
As expected it was a cautious start by both sides, with the first decent chance falling to Adelaide United-s Djite, who fired over the bar from 15 metres. A minute later Mark Bridge tested the Jordan keeper with a stinging shot that he parried away.
Both teams though were at least trying to play attractive football, but the two sets of defences were looking strong.
It was Jordan who finished the latter part of the half the stronger, with several anxious moments for the Australian defence.
Australia started the second half strongly, with Leijer just heading wide a free kick from his Melbourne Victory team mate Sarkies.
Sarkies then went close in the 52nd minute, when presented with a free kick just outside the penalty area, but his brilliantly executed shot hit the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.
Nick Ward then tested the Jordan keeper with a curling shot and then the pressure finally told when Sarkies played a one-two with Djite on the edge of the box, with Sarkies placing his shot perfectly into the goal.
Sensing their Olympic dreams were almost finished with a defeat, Jordan slowly clawed their way back into the game, but Australia-s defence was looking solid.
Hearfield almost made it 2-0 with his first touch of the ball, his shot going agonisingly wide and within minutes the game was all tied up thanks to Alzugheir-s wonderful strike.
Hearfield then hit the crossbar, with Vince Lia-s follow up desperately blocked and to add to the agony, Leijer-s header back across goal also hit the crossbar.
Australia must now regroup ahead of its next match against Saudi Arabia in two weeks time, also at Hindmarsh Stadium, a match that is now a must win game. Saudi Arabia is due to play Iran later today.
Australia 1 (Kristian Sarkies 58-) Jordan 1 (Ahmad Alzugheir 85-)
Australia line-up: Daniel Vukovic (gk), Ben Griffin, Adrian Leijer, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Leigh Broxham, Kristian Sarkies, Nick Ward (Vince Lia 82-), Nathan Burns, Bruce Djite, Mark Bridge (Troy Hearfield 82-), Adam D'Apuzzo. Subs not used: Peter Eleftherakis, Jason Naidovski, Robert Cornthwaite, Tando Velaphi (gk). Coach: Robert Baan
Jordan line-up: Mohammad Shatnawi (gk), Hussien Odtallah, Mouneef Ababneh, Ammar Abualigah, Isam Al-Mbaydin (Amer Al Wreikat 59-), Odai Alsaify, Issa Alsapah, Mohammad Maharmeh (Mosa Hammad 80-), Mohammad Almaharmeh, Ahmad Alzughier, Khalil Fetian. Subs Not Used: Abdallah Albashir, Moh'dkhier Aljamal, Yousef Alshaboul, Mohammad Makawi, Hisham Alhazaimeh (gk). Coach: Nihad Souqar.
Cautions: Alzugheir (47-), Al Wreikat (93')
Referee: Chaiwat Kunsuta (Thailand)
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