Ammouta says mental strength and a wicked counter attack are key to Jordan’s success

January 30 – Jordan crashed their way into the quarter finals on Monday evening, overcoming the odds to score twice in added time against high-flying Iraq.

Manager Hussein Ammouta (pictured), who made one substitution throughout the match, spoke of his team’s performance after an incredible closing to the game.

“The match was a very difficult one. They also deserved to qualify for the next stage,” he said.

“We played our game, our system and it worked. We tried to absorb their aggression and played our counter attack very smartly as planned. We deserved to qualify for the next round.”

The Jordanians were the underdogs entering the match, as Iraq breezed through the group stages without dropping a point. Armed with top scorer Ayman Hussein, Iraq had the potential to bury Jordan’s tournament hopes before they really took off.

“The belief of the project carried us to the win. It is so important for any team. This team has huge potential. We have to use our strength to deal with our weaknesses – we know that we have a strong counter attack and caused so many threats in that area,” said Ammouta.

“The confidence we have and the belief that we can come back helped us achieve the win in additional time. We have to maintain the strong mentality of the team- the more we win the more we make it deeper and stronger. The players are highly committed, well-disciplined and positive. Even the players on the bench did their part- everyone was ready mentally and we have achieved the result tonight because of that.”

Iraqi striker Hussein netted the goal that put his team in front in the 76th minute, but undid his team’s progress by receiving a second yellow card for celebrating in the crowd. From that point, the complexion of the game changed in Jordan’s favour.

Ammouta said: “We exploited the red card for the other team, and we need to carry that strong mentality to go far in this tournament.

“We made some mistakes, but the team was always ready. I stuck to the same squad as I believe in this team, they have the mental quality to come back. Sometimes the substitution can cause issues to the tactics even with fresh legs.

“We have a bigger ambition than ever before. We 1000% trust our players.”

Jordan face a simpler challenge than expected in the quarter finals, lining up against Asian Cup debutants Tajikistan next week.

“In the quarter finals, there is no such thing as big team or small team. Everyone deserves respect,” Ammouta finished.

Nizar Al Rashdan, who secured the win for his nation with the last attack of the game, praised his team’s mentality but warned not to get ahead of themselves with a tough schedule ahead.

“All the players, all the team, we were ahead in the first half but then lost it all in the second. We were behind but we kept our concentration. Morale stayed high and we were able to secure the win at the last possible moment,” said Al Rashdan.

“Tajikistan have real quality. We have played against them recently, in qualifiers for the next World Cup. Our focus will be strictly on the next match – we need to put this victory behind us and face the new challenge.”

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1721231567labto1721231567ofdlr1721231567owedi1721231567sni@g1721231567niwe.1721231567yrrah1721231567

 


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