Jordan 2 Australia 0: Asian champions suffer first loss
Australia have suffered their first defeat of the 2018 World Cup qualification campaign, going down 2-0 to an impressive Jordan side in Amman on Thursday.
Hassan Abdel Fattah scored a penalty early in the second half and Hamza Al-Dardour sealed the victory late on, which moves the home side to the top of Group B.
The Asian Cup winners had previously recorded three wins from their opening three games, but now trail Jordan by one point, with the next meeting between the two sides in Australia in March likely to be crucial.
In the second round of AFC qualification, only the group winners are guaranteed progression to the next stage, although the best four out of eight runners-up also advance.
Tom Rogic and Tommy Oar both shot straight at Amer Shafi with early efforts, while Abdallah Deeb was just off target with an effort for Jordan.
Al-Dardour was then sent through on goal but could not get a shot away thanks to quick thinking by Adam Federici, who charged out to deny him.
Australia came the closest to scoring in the first half. Oar whipped in a cross from the left and Mathew Leckie saw his initial attempt and close-range re-bound well saved by Shafi.
At the other end, Yaseen Al-Bakhit caused chaos prior to the break with a twisting run down the right, beating Jason Davidson and firing in a low cross, which a combination of Bailey Wright and Federici managed to clear.
Barely a minute into the second half, the hosts were awarded a penalty. Al-Dardour burst through on goal and was tugged back by Matthew Spiranovic in the box.
Fattah stepped up and fired a ruthless penalty high into the centre of the net, with Federici nowhere near it.
Spiranovic headed over as the visitors attempted to respond, but they were creating few chances and brought on record goalscorer Tim Cahill midway through the half in search of a breakthrough.
Shafi handled a powerful strike from Aaron Mooy after his initial free-kick had bounced off the wall and Cahill had a header saved with 12 minutes remaining.
Shafi was then fortunate to gather a long-range effort from Mark Milligan at the second attempt and that moment proved decisive when Jordan scored a second on 85 minutes.
Davidson was dispossessed in a dangerous area and the resulting shot was deflected off Spiranovic into the path of Al-Dardour, who beat Federici with a strike into the far corner to secure an important three points for the hosts.