Uzbekistan grabbed a vital away goal, but failed to convert their dominance over Jordan into victory and they had to settle for a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their World Cup Asia zone playoff in Amman on Friday.
The terrible pitch at the King Abdullah Stadium did not help the usually slick passing of the Uzbeks and the visitors were also subjected to having lasers shined in the eyes of their players in the first half when taking corner kicks.
The Uzbeks, though, will be confident they can complete the job in Tuesday’s second leg in Tashkent against a Jordan team with a notoriously poor away record.
The visitors looked set for victory in Amman after making a bright start against a Jordan side appearing at this stage for the first time.
However, it was Jordan who opened the scoring after intricate passing near the edge of the visitors penalty area put Musab Al Laham through and he neatly slotted home on the half hour mark.
The goal brought rapturous applause from the home fans, but they fell silent just five minutes later when the Uzbeks came up with the equalizer their domination warranted.
Sever Djeparov set Jasur Khasanov clear down the left and the wideman ran to the byline before cleverly pulling the ball back into the path of the onrushing Uzbek captain who drilled a left-foot shot past Amer Sabbah.
The Jordan goalkeeper was called on to make a number of saves from long-distance efforts by the visitors with Djeparov and Khasanov warming his hands as the Uzbeks controlled proceedings prior to the halftime whistle.
Jordan coach Hossan Hassan raised eyebrows by leaving the attacking trio of Abdallah Deeb, Amer Deeb and Odai al-Saify on the bench, but he quickly turned to them in the second period.
The home side enjoyed greater territory with more options going forward, but the decision-making in the final third of the pitch left a lot to be desired and stand-in goalkeeper Murotjon Zukhurov was rarely tested.