Ammouta hails 'heroic performance' as Jordan beat South Korea to reach Asian Cup final

Goals from Yazan Al Naimat and Musa Al Taamari seal 2-0 win to clinch place in Saturday's Asian Cup final in Qatar

Powered by automated translation

Jordan manager Hussein Ammouta said his players "delivered a heroic performance" in defeating two-time champions South Korea to book their place in a first Asian Cup final.

The Gulf side, never before past the quarter-final stage of the continent’s premier tournament, upset their much-fancied opponents in Qatar on Tuesday night, winning 2-0.

Ranked 87th in the world and therefore 64 spots below South Korea, Jordan dominated from the outset at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. However, they eventually won through thanks to second-half goals from Yazan Al Naimat and Musa Al Taamari.

Jordan will now contest the showpiece on Saturday against either Qatar, the hosts and defending champions, or three-time winners Iran. The two sides meet in the other semi-final on Wednesday.

Speaking after registering one of the great shocks in Asian Cup history, Moroccan Ammouta said: “The players delivered a heroic performance. The X-factor was we didn't need to give South Korea more respect than needed.

"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.”

Ammouta added: "What you saw today was the fruition of several years of work. We must defend this shirt with everything we've got. We are growing more ambitious by the hour."

Jordan fans celebrate reaching Asian cup final

Jordan fans celebrate reaching Asian cup final

Jordan, who drew 2-2 with South Korea in the group stage last month, should have really won by a greater margin on Tuesday. Al Naimat, Al Taamari and Nizar Al Rashdan had all gone close in the first half, although Jurgen Klinsmann’s side did hit the post not long after the half hour.

South Korea, champions in 1956 and 1960, were contesting an eighth Asian Cup semi-final – and fifth in the past seven editions.

“We knew that our opponents would strike back, hence the focus remained on aggressive defensive tactics,” Ammouta said. “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.”

On Saturday’s unexpected bid for the trophy, Ammouta said: “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.”

Al Taamari, who plays his club football with Montpellier in Ligue 1, was named man of the match for a superb display in which he assisted Al Naimat for the opener and then scored a stunning solo goal to give Jordan some breathing space.

"Actually, I was dreaming about this tournament before when I was in France,” Al Taamari said. "It means everything to me to be in the final and I hope we can do it in the final.

"It's also good to be in the final because it will make everyone speak about my country in France and this is very emotional for me."

Updated: February 07, 2024, 9:28 AM