Mindset of champions powered Jordan into final

Head coach Hussein Ammouta was proud of the mindset of champions his Jordan side produced in their stunning 2-0 victory over Korea Republic in their AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ semi-final on Tuesday.

Goals from Yazan Al Naimat and Mousa Al Tamari at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium secured Jordan’s historic place in the final, where they will face either defending champions Qatar or the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Congratulations to everyone who contributed to our victory. The players were our main weapon, showcasing heroic performances throughout the tournament. Despite facing injuries, we managed to deliver a significant accomplishment,” said the 54-year-old Ammouta.

“Our players demonstrated great initiative throughout the match. We agreed to start strongly, capitalising on the fact that Korea Republic have conceded eight goals in five matches. It was crucial to utilise our attacking abilities and seize the initiative to attack, especially against formidable opponents like them, who are known for their skillful players.

“We knew that our opponents would strike back, hence the focus remained on aggressive defensive tactics. However, it was our proactive approach and emphasis on attacking play that made us the more effective team. We displayed the mindset of champions, showing resilience and determination in every aspect of the game.”

Despite starting the game aggressively, Ammouta admitted he had been concerned with the lack of goal scoring efficiency midway through the first half, but defensive composure led Jordan confidently securing a famous victory.

“Initially, there was concern over the five missed opportunities, as such misses can often lead to one conceding a goal. However, our team remained composed after scoring the second goal, maintaining control of the game.

“Today’s victory differed significantly from our 2-2 group stage draw against the Korean team, particularly in terms of our defensive tactics. I emphasised to the players the importance of pressuring their attackers, which they executed effectively.

“While there are variables beyond our control, it’s crucial for the players to adapt to the conditions on the pitch. Despite missing chances, the team gave their all in defence and attack. We embraced the opportunity, knowing we had nothing to lose, and it paid off. 

“Today’s success was a collective effort, with every individual contributing to the win. Our approach was not to give the opposition undue respect but to play with confidence and determination.  Their commitment to winning individual battles ultimately led to our victory.”

Jordan are one win away from securing a maiden AFC Asian Cup title with Ammouta saying the days leading up to Saturday’s final will be utilised wisely.

“We are grateful for the seriousness with which everyone approached their roles. With just three days to prepare until we play in the final, we must utilise this time effectively.”

BY: Nadeem Faisal Baiga