Asian Cup: Australia play Jordan, Thailand vs India and Syria vs Palestine are games to watch today from UAE

  • Three games to look forward to from the UAE on Sunday as continent’s biggest tournament gets under way
  • Bookmakers fancy Socceroos despite injuries to key creative players
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 4:28pm

After the hosts kicked off the AFC Asian Cup with a late draw against Bahrain in Abu Dhabi it is time for the holders to take to the pitch to begin the defence of the title they won on home soil four years ago.

Australia take on Jordan in group B but they are missing arguably their two most talented players in Aaron Mooy and Daniel Arzani.

Coach Graham Arnold confirmed winger Matthew Leckie misses out too on a side that is short on flair.

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That means Australia’s best player is arguably goalkeeper Mat Ryan, which stands them in good stead defensively.

The Socceroos remain the favourites for the match, with pundit Chris Sutton claiming that the second best team in the continent should not need to call players up from the Scottish Premier League in order to comfortably beat Jordan.

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This is reflected in the odds. Australia are $1.36 to win with Jordan at $10 for the upset. The draw is $5.

Vital Borkelmans’ Jordan have been struggling of late and their only goal in the pre-tournament friendlies was in a 1-1 draw with China. They would be happy with a similar result on Sunday.

The action from the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain kicks off at 7pm and comes live on Fox Sports (channel 670).

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Next up is Thailand vs India from Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi and it is the smaller nation that is expected to take three points.

Thailand have one of the most talented players at the Asian Cup in Chanathip Songkrasin and the Consadole Sapporo forward will want to impress as his nation returns to this stage for the first time since 2007.

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India have not made it to the Asian Cup since 2011 and return with the second youngest squad at the competition. But if they are to get only their third win on the continent’s biggest stage then it will need a performance from veteran striker Sunil Chhetri.

Both teams have their fate in their own hands after UAE and Bahrain drew the group A opener with a win for either putting one foot into the round of 16.

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Thailand are expected to take the three points, a win for them priced at $1.5, while an Indian victory would be an upset at $8.5. The draw is $4.05.

The game is live from 9.30pm (Hong Kong time) on Fox Sports (channel 670).

Tonight’s triple header finishes up with Syria vs Palestine in a game that takes us into the early hours of Monday.

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On paper this is the closest of the encounters on offer on Sunday, something reflected in the odds offered: Syria are $1.7 for the win with Palestine at $6. A draw is $3.5.

Syria have never made it out of the group stages but 2019’s expanded format, where three teams go through, means that should change this year.

In Omar Khribin they have the AFC Player of the Year while strike partner Omar Al Soma has goals in him, the pair proved their quality as they took Syria to a historic Fifa World Cup play-off against Australia.

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Palestine return for second appearance at the Asian Cup and looking for their first point. The Syria game might not be that but striker Sameh Maraaba scored goals to get them to this stage and could inspire an upset.

The group B game, from Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah, kicks off at midnight and will be shown live on Fox Sports (channel 670).