JORDAN sent out a stern warning to their chief title-rivals in the Women's Football Cup Arabia 2010 last night with a 20-0 drubbing of Iraq in a one-sided group 'B' match played at Al Ahli Club stadium in Mahooz.
Maysa Zaid Mahmood spearheaded the victors in the rout, scoring seven of her team's goals including three in the opening half when they hit the Iraqi net for 11.
The Jordanians cruised the rest of the way, and Maysa capped their impressive salvo with three successive goals minutes before the final whistle to secure their dream start to the competition, which is being held under the patronage of Princess Sabeeka bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa.
Jordan's impressive showing came a day after hosts Bahrain defeated Qatar 17-0 in group 'A'. The Jordanians and Bahrainis are among the tournament favourites.
Iraq, comprised mostly of youngsters in their teens, had reason to celebrate despite the massive defeat, as the game marked the first-ever Fifa-sanctioned international match for their women's national football team.
Meanwhile, Egypt overcame a tough challenge from Lebanon to win 5-1 in yesterday's other group 'B' contest.
Fadwa Atef Ebrahim scored a brace to lead the Egyptians to the win. Like Jordan, they are on three points as the top two teams in the group.
In the Jordanians' lopsided win, nine different players made it onto the score sheet. Stephanie Mazen Yousef was their second-best scorer tallying five goals including a double in the opening six minutes that got her squad going.
By the match's 20th minute, Maysa, Stephanie and Farah Emad Ahmed had found the net that put them ahead 6-0. Maysa had already completed her hat-trick at that point.
They continued to apply the pressure the rest of the half, and both Mira Khaled Khalil and Ala'a Fouad Daoud got in on the scoring action.
Starting the second half, Maysa picked up from where they left off and scored her fourth goal to make it 12-0. Minutes later, Shorooq Khalil Mohammed, Enshirah Ebrahim Mohammed, Shahnaz Yaseen Mahmood and Sama Samir Hamad each added a goal to make it 16-0, before Stephanie struck once more to give her side a 17th.
That paved the way for Maysa to apply the finishing touches and seal the well-deserved win.
"The first match is always the most difficult in any tournament, so I am very happy that we have won and taken our first three points," Jordan coach Maher Abu Hantash said at the post-match Press conference.
"Our aim today was to score as many goals as we can because it will be tough when we play Egypt and Lebanon in our remaining group games. We want to be first in our group and qualify for the semi-finals as the best team, and then hopefully from there make it to the final and win."
For Iraq, coach Salam Omar was not too depressed knowing that his players, some of whom are as young as 13, had achieved something nobody had ever done before them.
"This is our very first official international match, and just for us to be here is already something we are very pleased about," he said.
"It was a real challenge for us to participate in this tournament. We didn't have many players to choose from, and before coming here, three more of our girls suffered injuries, so our squad now is depleted.
"But we will continue to play hard in every game, gain experience, and do the best we can."
Tournament action continues today with another two matches at Al Ahli. At 5.30pm, Qatar take on Palestine followed at 8pm by Bahrain going against Syria.
Gulf Daily News