Jordan, Iraq share spoils after keeper error
A bad error by goalkeeper Mohammed Kassid handed Jordan a 1-1 draw with neighbouring Iraq in a bad-tempered and scrappy World Cup qualifier in Amman on Sunday.
A point for the two evenly-matched rivals from their opening fourth round, Group B clash was a fair outcome in a game of high commitment and strong tackles but, for long periods, devoid of quality.
That had not looked the case after 2007 Asian Cup winners Iraq took the lead in the 14th minute thanks to some neat skill by their Spanish-based playmaker Nashat Akram.
The Malaga man feinted to shoot with his right foot before turning onto his left and firing a low shot from the edge of the penalty area into the corner of the net.
But the quality dried up as both sides struggled to hold onto possession and the tackles flew in, with players constantly gesturing to the referee to have opponents yellow-carded.
But just as Iraq, coached by Brazilian great Zico, looked liked they would reach halftime in front, Kassid made a costly error.
The experienced shot-stopper fumbled a 30-metre drive straight to the feet of Ahmad Ibrahim, the Jordanian forward slotting home from close range, via the post.
Few chances came in a disjointed second period despite the best efforts of a noisy home support, which included Fifa vice-president Prince Ali.
The duo, who recorded away wins over each other in the third round of qualifiers, both had chances to snatch victory in the final minutes but were denied by some fine goalkeeping.
Jordan head to Saitama next to face Japan on Friday. The Blue Samurai lead the standings after easily overcoming Oman 3-0 earlier on Sunday. Australia are the fifth team in the group, with the top two sides qualifying for the finals in Brazil.