(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
#Arab Cup 2021 By Ayeni Olusegun | The Peninsula
Jordan thrashed Palestine 5-1 at Stadium 974 yesterday with three goals in the last 10 minutes to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Arab Cup. Morocco are also through as Group C winners after a comfortable 1-0 win over 10-men Saudi Arabia at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Karim El Berkaoui scored the winner for Morocco from the penalty spot as the Atlas Lions maintained their 100 percent record with nine goals scored and none conceded in three matches.
On Saturday, the Lions will play Algeria in the quarter-finals in a North-African derby at the Al Thumama Stadium, while Jordan will take on Egypt at the Al Janoub Stadium.
Jordan, with three points before the decider, knew a win or a draw would take them to the next stage. At the same time, Palestine needed a win to go through if Saudi Arabia failed to beat Morocco, who had already qualified.
Palestine's task became difficult almost from the start as Palestine captain Abdallatif Al Badhari fouled Jordan's Mohammed Abu Zurayq in the box, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Baha'a Abdulrahman showed composure to roll straight down the middle to give Jordan the lead nine minutes into the tie.
Jordan almost made it two after Palestine Khaled Salem fluffed a golden opportunity, but Kaddura managed to push out for a corner.
On the other end, Tamer Seyam found the back of the net, but he was miles offside.
The injury-hit Jordanians gradually settled into the match and got their second in the 24th minute after Yaseen Al Bakhit beat Mohammed Rashid down the line to send in a low cross which Hamza Al Dardoor sidefooted home from close range.
Palestine gradually started creating chances, but Salem failed to convert them. Captain Al Badhari made a foray into the box and was an unlikely target, but his header flew wide.
Palestine's woeful finishing continued as Seyam left coach Makram Daboub frustrated on the sidelines after a horrible miss with the Jordanian defence well beaten.
Palestine pulled one back just before halftime as Sayem sent a fine header home from Mahmud Abu Warda's cross.
Jordan began the second half better, and the ever-present Abu Zarayq forced Kaddura into a brilliant save with the ball creeping into the top corner.
Palestine's wastefulness in front of goal continued when Salem missed a golden opportunity to tie finding the side netting after rounding the onrushing goalkeeper Yazeed Abu Lalla.
Palestine's Yasser Hamed went close; however, his header from a corner came off the post just on the hour mark.
Seyam put the ball in the back of the net 20 minutes from time, but Salem was ruled offside in the initial build-up.
Jordan suddenly came to life in the last 10 minutes and got their third in the 82nd minute thanks to a fortunate deflection off Hamed from Mahmoud Al Mardi's shot with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
Substitute Yazan Al Naimat made it four with four minutes left as the Palestinian defence capitulated. The 22-year old benefited from a defensive howler before sending his curler home with the Kaddura off his line.
Yazan got his brace in added time as fellow substitute Raja'ei Ayed split the defence with a lovely pass for Yazan, who beat the offside trap, rounded the Kaddura, and slotted home.
“We lost the match today to Jordan. Congratulations to them. We tried to score, but we missed a lot of chances. Thank you to all the fans who supported us, and we thank Doha for hosting us,” said Palestine's Ahmed Qatmish.
Meanwhile, Jordan coach Adnan Hamad hailed his team's courage to make the last eight despite a spate of injuries and COVID-19 breakout in the Jordanian camp.
“Despite all the pressure yesterday, and the positive coronavirus cases, we were able to play a good match,” Hamad said.
“We know that we will face strong teams that have a high level, but this does not prevent us from participating, and we are very confident that we will be ready for the next round.”
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