In a sensational turn of events, Jordan orchestrated a jaw-dropping comeback, scoring twice in the dying moments of stoppage time to shock Iraq 3-2 and secure a spot in the Asian Cup quarterfinals where they will face tournament debutants Tajikistan.
Against all odds, lower-ranked Jordan, trailing as injury time loomed, staged an incredible revival. Yazan Al-Arab ignited the comeback, slotting in a 95th-minute equalizer that defied belief.
The drama reached its zenith just two minutes later when Nizar Al-Rashdan unleashed a magnificent curler from distance, propelling Jordan into the quarterfinals and leaving Iraq heartbroken and shell-shocked.
For Iraq, the agony was palpable, having harbored dreams of replicating their fairy-tale 2007 Asian Cup title triumph. Instead, they were left to grapple with the harsh reality of an unexpected defeat.
In the upcoming quarterfinal clash, Jordan is set to face Tajikistan, a team that has emerged as one of the surprise packages in their debut appearance in the competition.
The underdog narrative was prevalent as Jordan, ranked 24 places below Iraq, outshone their opponents in an eventful first half. Despite being the perceived weaker side, Jordan displayed resilience, with Ali Olwan coming close to breaking the deadlock. Jalal Hassan, Iraq’s goalkeeper, played a pivotal role in denying Jordan’s attacking endeavors.
The Khalifa International Stadium, pulsating with a raucous crowd, witnessed Jordan’s breakthrough in the first minute of injury time. Yazan Al-Naimat capitalized on defensive lapses, racing towards goal and delicately chipping the ball over the overworked Hassan.
Iraq responded after the break, with Ibrahim Bayesh testing goalkeeper Yazeed Abulaila, who pulled off another spectacular save. The pressure eventually paid off for Iraq in the 68th minute, as Saad Natiq nodded in the equalizer from a corner.
The pendulum swung once again as Jordan swiftly countered, with Aymen Hussein netting what seemed to be Iraq’s winning goal in the 76th minute. However, his over-celebration resulted in a second yellow card and subsequent red card.
Just when the narrative seemed set, Jordan orchestrated a stunning turn of events with a late double, leaving Iraq stunned and paving their way to a quarterfinal clash with Tajikistan, ensuring their remarkable journey in the Asian Cup continues.