Coach slams Syria squad
© AFP

Coach Tita Valeriu could not hide his disappointment at seeing Syria throw away a one-goal lead as two defensive errors sealed their AFC Asian Cup exit following a 2-1 defeat to Jordan.

Needing to beat their regional rivals at Qatar Sports Club to progress from Group B, Syria made the ideal start when Mohamad Al Zino finished from close range after keeper Amer Shafri parried Sanharib Malki's shot into the forward's path. But a defensive mix-up between Ali Dyab and keeper Mosab Balhous saw the defender head Amer Deeb's cross into his own net in the 31st minute before the pair were again at fault as Dyab allowed Odai Al Saify to latch onto Shafi's long goal kick and he knocked the ball past the onrushing Syrian custodian.

The result sees Jordan now face Uzbekistan in the last eight and Valeriu cut a frustrated figure afterwards. "These players did not deserve to be in the national team. They have been playing together eight years and they have not won anything. They came to the Asian Cup and tried hard but I think a new generation is needed in Syria," said the Romanian.

These players did not deserve to be in the national team.
The Syria coach on his team

"We did start well the first 25 minutes and we scored but in general it was a very tough match although Jordan's equaliser was our goalkeeper's fault," he went on.  "We then started the second half badly and made mistakes. We made a mistake and they scored. This is football, somebody wins and somebody loses. We gave them a big gift and they scored two goals against us and that is all there is to say."

Jordan coach Adnan Hamad felt Dyab's own goal proved the turning point. "Every match has its own circumstances but the mistake by the Syrian defender put them under pressure," he said. "The goal came for us at a crucial time, that is why we were able to fight back.

"This match was very tough. Syria had some chances but we played well and remained concentrated, focused and disciplined tactically and we achieved a good result. The second goal decided the match," the coach said. "They had the upper hand when they scored the first goal, there were mistakes from us in the first-half but we rectified those in the second-half."

Hamad will now look to take Jordan further than their last eight appearance in 2004, where they lost to Japan on penalties. "This is the second time that we've qualified for this stage and I hope this time that we will do better," he added. "We are going to face a very strong team in Uzbekistan. They have good players who are strong and fast but we have plenty of ambition to reach the semi-finals."