AL AIN, UAE – Jordan topped Syria 2-0 on Thursday to become the first team to book a place in the knockout stage of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with one match to go.
Having defeated Australia 1-0 in the Group B opener, Jordan needed a win to snag a seat in the round of 16 stage of the tournament which is currently being played in the United Arab Emirates.
Jordan’s first goal came in the 25th minute, when APOEL winger Musa al-Taamari deflected a close range shot from forward Yusuf al-Rawashdeh past Syria’s goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma.
Al-Rawashdeh assisted on the second goal as he sent a cross into the area – after a corner kick – that defender Tareq Khattab put home on a header with three minutes to go before the first-half stoppage time.
Shortly after the intermission, Syria’s forward Omar Kharbin nearly got his team on the board on a close range header that sailed just a tad high.
Syria’s defender Ahmad al-Saleh could have added to his team’s woes in the 53rd minute, when he tried to clear a rebounded ball from the keeper’s hand and instead sent the ball back toward the goal. Luckily for the Syrians, however, it went just wide of the net.
With the win, Jordan remains atop Group B with six points, five points ahead of second-placed Palestine who played to a scoreless draw against Syria in their opening game.
Palestine is set to take on last-placed Australia Friday.
The final Group B matches will pit Australia versus Syria and Palestine against Jordan on Jan. 15.