Jordan stun Kuwait with injury-time double
Tim Maitland in Jinan
Asian Cup newcomers Jordan overcame a one-man disadvantage to produce a stunning late double-strike in time added on to defeat Kuwait 2-0 in a Group B match last night.
Having played with 10-men for the last half hour after full-back Faisal Ibrahim was dismissed for a professional foul in the 58th minute, midfielder Hassouneh Qasem inspired his side to a late, late win.
As the clock ticked down to zero, the midfielder struck a ferocious shot from 25 yards, which struck both posts and rebounded out for Khaled Sa'ed to side-foot home.
Seconds later his side rule pass opened up the shell-shocked Kuwaiti defence again allowing Anas Al Zboun to beat Shehab Kankone at the near post.
'Thanks to Allah we were able to score twice in the last two minutes,' said Jordan's Egyptian coach Mahmoud Al Gohary.
'The physical fitness of the Jordanian players was a major element in compensating for the red card.'
Although Jordan probably had the more cohesive attack during a fairly ordinary first-half, Al Gohary conceded that Kuwait had looked the more dangerous - not in terms of shots on target but in terms of the threat posed.
That threat came almost exclusively in the form of the frightening pace of teenager Bader Mutwa, who got behind Jordan three times.
Twice keeper Amer Shafi Sabbah came out and won crunching tackles, the third time he felled the 19-year-old just a couple of yards from the touchline: a foul that under the old interpretation of the professional foul rule would have earned Amer a red card instead of just a yellow. 'We were a little cautious about Kuwait's counter-attack. It was very dangerous and created some very difficult situations for us,' Al Gohary admitted.
At the other end Jordan's best chance also came off a Kuwaiti boot.
On the stroke of half-time full-back Mesaed Neda smashe Ibrahim's pull-back towards his own goal, and was only rescued from acute embarrassment by a sharp save by Kankone.
Ironically it wasn't Mutwa's pace that led to the dismissal of Ibrahim in the second-half, but that of captain Bashar Abdullah. Anonymous up to that point, the Kuwaiti star broke from halfway only to be tripped from behind by the Jordanian defender.
Equally as ironic is the fact that within five minute the 10-men of Jordan fashioned one of their best chances of the game - a diagonal drive from Qasem that was acrobatically tipped away from the top corner by Kankone.
That strike proved to be a portent for what was to come in time added on and the win that threw the group wide open. 'The result ignites the competition between at least three of the teams in this group,' Al Gohary concluded.