Asian Cup 2019: Holders Australia stunned by Jordan on day of upsets | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 06.01.2019
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Asian Cup 2019: Holders Australia stunned by Jordan on day of upsets

Australia's Asian Cup title defense got off to a nightmare start as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat by Jordan. In the day's other games India crushed Thailand and Syria were held by Palestine.

Australia were stunned 1-0 by Jordan, ranked 68 places below their opponents at 109th in the world, on Sunday as the reigning Asian Cup champions made the worst possible start to their title defence.

Defender Anas Bani Yaseen headed the only goal midway through the first half to give Jordan the perfect opening to Group B. They top the table, following Syria's 0-0 draw with Palestine.

Four years ago Australia had also fallen behind in their opening Asian Cup game to Kuwait but stormed back to win 4-1 and went on to lift the trophy.

But on this occasion, badly missing the creativity of injured midfielder Aaron Mooy, they lacked inspiration and other than a penalty shout for handball, failed to threaten before half-time.

Australia improved after a poor first half in Al Ain, but Awer Mabil hitting the post late on was as close as they came to an equalizer. They next face Palestine on Friday, a day after Jordan meet Syria.

"We'll go home and look at the footage," coach Graham Arnold told Fox Sports. "We had a number of good chances but not enough, so we'll go and have a look where it went wrong and we'll fix it quickly.

"It's a wakeup call, if you're going to lose a game in the tournament it's better to lose one in the group, and we'll bounce back."

India trounce Thais

Elsewhere, in Abu Dhabi, India ended a 55-year wait for their third win at the competition in spectacular fashion by thrashing Thailand 4-1 to top Group A.

A double from veteran forward Sunil Chhetri laid the foundation for India and moved the 34-year-old forward above Lionel Messi in the current  international scoring chart. Only Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, with 85, has more than Chhetri's 67 among active players.

Chhetri broke the deadlock from the spot and lashed in another from the edge of the box early in the second half before Anirudh Thapa and Lalpekhlua Jeje confirmed India's drought, dating from 1964, was over.

"I thought the boys fought for all 93 minutes and obviously we're very happy to get our first win at the Asian Cup in many years," India coach Stephen Considine said.

India next meet hosts UAE on Thursday while Thailand face Bahrain.

Palestine hold Syria

In the third and final game of Day 2, 10-man Palestine got off the mark with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Syria.

Palestine, appearing in their second Asian Cup having first featured in 2015, had Mohammed Saleh dismissed for a second yellow card with 20 minutes remaining.

Syria dominated the possession but despite the upper hand in the attacking stats could not break the Palestine defence as they held on for s surprise point.

mds (dpa, AP)

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