Jordan coach wary despite past wins over Malaysia


Inside knowledge: Jordan winger Mahmoud Al-Mardi knows Malaysia’s style quite well as he played for Kedah in the Super League.

PETALING JAYA: Jordan are the favourites but coach Hussein Ammouta does not want to take their status for granted.

Ammouta wants his team to put their good record against Malaysia on the back burner as they focus on their Group E clash in the Asian Cup at the Al Janoub Stadium today at 8.30pm in Doha (1.30am Malaysian time).

Jordan have won three and drew twice in the last five meetings with Malaysia.

In their last encounter three years ago, they thrashed Malaysia 4-0 in an international friendly in September 2021 and before that, they beat the team 1-0 in 2019.

Aware that their opponents have improved over the years, Ammouta said they had come prepared.

“While history holds importance, our focus now is on the present. Teams are continually improving, including the Malaysian team,” said the Moroccan.

“We respect all our opponents and acknowledge the evolution of each team. Our performance on the pitch will not rely on past encounters.

“Despite two past victories against Malaysia, we anticipate a tough game, and we are fully prepared for the challenge.”

This will be the first-ever clash between Malaysia and Jordan at the Asian Cup. The only time the two sides have met was during the 1988 Asian Cup qualifiers, which ended in a goalless draw.

Jordan played two friendly matches, beating Qatar 2-1 and losing to Japan 1-6.

Ammouta said the preparation for the tournament has been good and eagerly await the first game after playing two friendlies, where they beat hosts 2-1 but lost 1-6 to Japan.

“We are well-prepared to face Malaysia. We’ve had a productive training camp and engaging friendly matches. We are eager to put a smile on the faces of our Jordanian fans,” he said.

“The expectations from our passionate Jordanian supporters are high and rightfully so. We value their support and strive to meet their expectations.

“The training camp has been filled with positivity and high morale. The lessons learned from the last two friendlies have been instrumental in addressing our mistakes.

“Challenging matches help us identify weaknesses, and we aim to showcase unity on the pitch in the first game against Malaysia.

Ammouta would surely rely on some key players with one of them being a wing wizard.

Mousa Al-Tamari had attempted 7.7 dribbles per game in the AFC Asian Cup 2019, the highest such aggregate for any player to have featured in more than one game in that edition of the tournament.

Then they have the likes of Ali Olwan, who is a menace on the flanks and Yazan Al-Naimat, who will be the target man for Jordan.

The nation also have several players in the Malaysian League like midfielder Noor Al-Rawabdeh who plies his trade for Selangor and defensive midfielder Fadi Awad who plays for Police.

Yazan Al-Arab used to lead the backline for Selangor, while winger Mahmoud Al-Mardi made his name in Kedah despite a short six-month stint with them.

With such an array of talent, Jordan pose a strong challenge for Malaysia.

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Football , Asian Cup , Jordan , Hussein Ammouta

   

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