Jordan knock Socceroos off top spot

The Socceroos have been beaten 2-0 by a Hamza Al Dardour-inspired Jordan in Amman on Friday morning (AEDT). 

Jordan have now leapfrogged Australia into top spot in Group B of FIFA Russia World Cup 2018™ qualification, leading on 10 points with the Socceroos still on nine.

Jordan took the lead in the first minute of the second half with an emphatically taken spot-kick after striker Al Dardour was brought down.

And Al Dardour deservedly sealed the win with a cool finish with just minutes left to leave Australia stunned with their first loss in qualification.

At the Amman International Stadium, it was the top two sides in Group B in a blockbuster FIFA Russia World Cup 2018™ qualifier between the skilful Australians and intense Jordanians backed by a vociferous home support.

The Socceroos controlled the game in the first 15 minutes with an attacking, ball-playing midfield featuring Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy and Massimo Luongo.

Confident on the ball, this took the crowd out of equation but Jordan caused the Socceroos a few problems as they worked their way back into the contest.

Forward Al Dardour leading the charge up front as the Jordanians looked to get in behind Australia’s back four with long balls over the top.

Both sides created good chances with Rogic looking a threat but right on the half-time break, had it not been for Adam Federici’s knee, Jordan would have taken the lead.

Jason Davidson was turned inside out by the speedy Al Bakhit and his low cross somehow ricocheted off the Bournemouth keeper and away. 

It was a portent of things to come. After just 30 seconds into the second half, Al Dardour got on the end of another long ball and in the contest with Spiranovic was adjudged to have taken him down in the box.

Abdel-Fattah’s smashing finish sent the crowd into raptures.

Jordan’s confidence was up as the home side’s intensity ramped up another notch. The ball wasn’t fallng for the Aussies. Jordan’s time-wasting tactics started as early as the 65th minute as a shock loss loomed.  

Tim Cahill came on for Rogic as Ange Postecoglou looked to his star goal-scorer and game-changer with 25 minutes to go.

Jordan was happy to sit back and hit the Aussies on the break. The Socceroos came close after Mooy’s long-range shot off a rebound from his own set piece was stopped by keeper Amer Shafi.

But quality in front of goal was lacking as Tomi Juric came on with 15 minutes of normal time remaining.

Cahill with a great chance to score inside the final 12 minutes but his angled header off a cross was pushed wide by Shafi.

And Leckie should’ve done much better after he was found in space down the Jordanian left but his cross ballooned too high and the danger was averted.

It was to prove costly after Al Dardour swept home the second goal on 84 minutes.

The Aussie defence was stretched and Davidson looked to have been fouled but with no whistle, Dardour was found in the box and he coolly slotted past Federici.

In Amman, as it was three years ago, there was to be no comeback for the Socceroos.