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Aussies lose, India win on day of Asian Cup upsets

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Aussies lose, India win on day of Asian Cup upsets

AUSTRALIA made a horror start to their title defence and unfancied India stunned Thailand on a day of upsets in the Asian Cup on Sunday.

The Socceroos had expected to make short work of Jordan but Graham Arnold’s men slumped 1-0 in their worst start in four visits to the tournament.

Later, India also sprang a surprise when they thrashed Thailand 4-1 to top Group A, after the 1-1 draw between hosts UAE and Bahrain in the tournament opener on Saturday.

Syria and Palestine rounded off the day with a 0-0 draw in Sharjah which pushed Australia to the bottom of Group B after the first round of games.

Australia are targeting their third straight final but the Socceroos, weakened by injuries and retirements, failed to score despite enjoying 76 per cent of possession against Jordan.

But coach Graham Arnold said he was confident of a quick recovery in their remaining Group B games, starting with Palestine on Friday.

“If you’re going to lose a game, it’s better to lose your first game,” Arnold said.

“It’s a wake-up call . . . it’s all about where we can improve. We’ll get over it very quickly.”

Jordan celebrated wildly with their travelling supporters after Anas Bani-Yaseen’s first-half header was enough to beat the defending champions in Al Ain.

“I told them today, ‘God gave you something’, and today they were playing for the people of Jordan,” said coach Vital Borkelmans.

“They were running like they had three lungs,” he added.

Jordan’s goal came from defender Bani-Yaseen’s thumping header from a corner on 26 minutes.

Celtic’s Tom Rogic scooped an inviting shot over and Awer Mabil hit the post, before Jordan’s Amer Shafi pulled off a superb double stop in the final action of the game.

In Abu Dhabi, veteran striker Sunil Chhetri scored twice as India unexpectedly thumped Thailand to make a rip-roaring start to their campaign.

Chhetri smashed home from the penalty spot after 27 minutes before Thai captain Teerasil Dangda’s header from a Theerathon Bunmathan free kick made it 1-1.

But Chhetri drilled his second moments into the second half following a lung-bursting run down the right from Udanta Singh.

Anirudh Thapa chipped in India’s third in the 68th minute before substitute Lalpekhlua Jeje completed the rout to leave India as unlikely group leaders.

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