Dubai, Jan 11: Australia bounced back to earn a 3-0 win over Palestine in the 2019 Asian Cup on Friday to keep their title defence campaign alive, after losing their opener to Jordan.
With only one knockout stage berth up for grabs, as Jordan had already secured a second round place, Australia – the 2015 Asian Cup winner – needed a win to stay in contention in Group B, reports Efe news.
To that end, Australia seized control of the game, played at Dubai’s Rashid stadium, in a strong fashion with aggressive ball control bearing fruit in the 17th minute when striker Jamie Maclaren shot in a brilliant header; the goal was Maclaren’s first international goal.
Next Kenyan-born Awer Mabil doubled Australia’s lead in the 19th minute, when he anticipated Christopher Oikonomidis’ inside-the-area chip-pass and put it past goalkeeper Ikram Rami Hamadeh.
Australia maintained its 2-0 lead throughout the rest of the match despite Palestine’s best efforts to score.
At the end of the match, in the 89th minute, the Australians got a third goal; a header by unmarked Apostolos Giannou off a cross from Oikonomidis who had played a corner kick, got the ball back and then sent a beautiful kick in front of the goal to Giannou.
Following the blowout win, Australia climbed into Group B’s second place with three points, half of what leader Jordan has after two matches.
Syria, meanwhile, holds the third spot on goal differential ahead of last placed Palestine.
The final Group B matches will pit Australia against Syria and Palestine against Jordan on January 15.