Jordan pulled off the biggest upset so far in the
ongoing AFC Youth Championship after shocking last edition's runners-up China
2-1 in the quarterfinals at the Salt Lake Stadium on Monday.
The victory also ensured the West Asians a place in next year's FIFA U-20
World Cup. In the semifinals, they will meet DPR Korea, who defeated Iraq 2-0 in
another quarterfinal at Bangalore, on November 9.
Loiy Al Zaideh put Jordan
ahead in the 33rd minute and Abdallah Salim made it 2-0 from the spot in the
67th minute. China pulled one back through Yang Xu in the 70th minute.
China's Wang Yongbo, middle, tries to
break through during the team's 2-1 defeat to Jordan in the quarterfinals
of the AFC Youth Championships, November 6, 2006. [sina.com]
Jordan were on song today. The West Asians, playing in this premier age-group
tournament after a gap of eight years, surprised the Chinese with an offensive
Jordan got a golden opportunity in the 26th minute when Raed Fraeh had an
empty net at his mercy but his hasty effort sailed over the bar. Abdallah
Salim's shot from the edge of the box beat Chinese goalkeeper Wang Dalei only to
hit the woodwork. The rebound landed in front of Fraeh but the midfielder hit it
over the bar as Dalei scrambled to get onto his feet.
Jordan opened their account in the 33rd minute when a left-footed dipping
volley by Loiy Al Zaideh went over a diving Dalei. Jordan were leading 1-0 at
China almost levelled the scores in the 56th minute when Yang Xu's header
went into the net but his effort was disallowed for being offside.
Jordan doubled the advantage in the 67th minute when Salim scored from the
spot. They were awarded the penalty when Salim was brought down in the box by
Dai Lin and the midfielder himself stepped up to make it 2-0.
Three minutes later, Yang Xu reduced the deficit when his header in a
goalmouth melee found the net.
China got their rhythm back after this goal and they increased the pressure
on the Jordan citadel. Jordanian goalkeeper Hamad Al Asmar thwarted many of the
China's hero in their group games, Wang Yongpo had a clear chance in the 82nd
minute but he was too late to take a shot as Al Asmar cleared the threat.
An elated Jordan coach Jan Poulsen said: ¡°It was a surprise for all of us but
we had belief in ourselves. Having seen China play in the group games, we knew
that it will not be easy but a victory is possible.¡±
"The players were under pressure in the second half and the last 15 minutes
were very exciting. It could have become 2-2 or 3-1 in our favour."
China coach Jia Xiuquan accepted the responsibility for the defeat saying, "I
accept this result and the responsibility for the defeat. I was not surprised by
Jordan but by my own players' show."