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Japan miss chance of early qualification

Jordan rewrite the form book as they shock group leaders Japan with a 2-1 win in their World Cup qualifier.

Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 16:37
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Khalil Bani Ateyah enjoys putting Jordan ahead of Japan in their qualifying match in Amman [AFP]

Japan wasted a second half penalty as they blew the chance to become the first team to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals when they were humbled 2-1 by Jordan in a pulsating clash in Amman on Tuesday.

The Japanese dominated possession and created numerous chances but the West Asians secured a memorable win thanks to some resolute defending and efficient finishing.

After Japan had peppered their goal for most of the first half, Jordan grabbed a shock lead just before halftime when Khalil Bani Ateyah beat Shinji Okazaki to head home Amer Deeb's inswinging corner to leave the King Abdullah Stadium rocking.

Jordan, who beat Australia 2-1 at home in September, then extended the advantage thanks to a brilliant solo effort by Ahmad Ibrahim in the 60th minute.

The forward collected the ball near halfway before outpacing Maya Yoshida down the right and cutting into the penalty area and tucking a left foot shot underneath Eiji Kawashima in the Japan goal.

Shinji Kagawa pulled one back in the 69th minute and Japan could have grabbed the point they needed to qualify moments later when they were awarded a penalty.

However, experienced midfielder Yasuhito Endo saw his spot kick expertly turned around the post by Amer Sabbah.

The result leaves Japan top of Group B with 13 points from six matches with Jordan now occupying the second finals berth as they moved on to seven points from six matches.

Australia and Oman, who drew 2-2 earlier in Sydney, both have six points with the Socceroos having played a game less.

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Source:
Reuters
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