Jordan made history by reaching their first Asian Cup semi-final after securing a nerve-wracking 1-0 victory over Tajikistan on Friday. The match unfolded at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, a venue for the 2022 World Cup, and saw Jordan set up a potential semi-final clash against South Korea or Australia.
The decisive moment came in the second half when Jordan’s defender, Abdallah Nasib, rose for a corner kick. His header deflected off Tajikistan’s Vahdat Hanonov, resulting in an own goal that ultimately secured Jordan’s passage to the last four. This marked a significant achievement for Jordan under their Moroccan coach, Hussein Ammouta, who had experienced quarter-final defeats in 2004 and 2011.
Despite the disappointment for charismatic Croatian coach Petar Segrt and his Tajikistan team, who were the lowest-ranked side remaining in Qatar, they had won admiration for their fairytale run in their inaugural Asian Cup appearance.
The match saw moments of VAR controversy, with Tajikistan’s Zoir Dzhuraboev’s challenge on Yazan Al-Naimat in the box being reviewed but ultimately deemed non-penalty by VAR. Tajikistan, fatigued from their penalty shootout victory over the United Arab Emirates in the previous round, struggled to break down Jordan’s defense and were limited to playing on the counter.
The first half featured several near misses, including a chance for Tajikistan’s Ehson Panjshanbe, whose first-time effort clipped the top of Jordan’s bar. Emotions ran high when Tajikistan’s Shahrom Samiev was forced off with a hamstring injury, leaving the striker visibly upset.
As the game progressed, both teams had opportunities, but it was Jordan who held on to secure their spot in the semi-finals. With their passionate fans dominating the crowd, Jordan’s journey to the last four adds another layer of excitement to the Asian Cup, with the prospect of facing South Korea or Australia in the next round. The stage is set for an intriguing semi-final showdown, further intensifying the anticipation in the Asian football community.