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Asian Qualifiers - Group A: Super Syria beat Guam to confirm top spot 


Sharjah: Syria guaranteed themselves top spot in Group A and a place in the third round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with a 3-0 win over Guam at Sharjah Stadium that means they cannot be surpassed in the standings.

Mardak Mardikian scored twice in the opening nine minutes and Mahmoud Al Mawas added a late third to maintain the Syrians’ perfect record with seven wins from seven games, meaning neither second-placed China PR or the Philippines can supplant them at the top of the table.

Victory also means Nabil Maloul’s team have booked their place among the 24 teams who will at the Finals of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

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Needing to win to seal their place in the next round with one match remaining, the Syrians made a flying start and within the first 10 minutes they were already two goals ahead.

Mardikian capitalised on a loose defensive header from Alexander Lee, who redirected an attempted cross-field ball from Mohammad Rihanieh into the striker’s path and he slammed a first-time shot low past goalkeeper Dallas Jaye with only six minutes on the clock.

Three minutes later the Al Faisaly forward doubled his side’s lead, pouncing in spectacular fashion to meet Khaled Kerdagli’s cross from the left with a flying volley that found its way into the top corner of Jaye’s goal.

Despite conceding those two early goals, Guam refused to roll over, steadying themselves to ensure the West Asian nation did not add to their tally before the break.

Maloul introduced Al Mawas, Syria’s hat-trick hero in their 4-0 win over the Maldives on Friday, at the start of the second half in an attempt to inject some drive into his team’s attack.

As the stifling conditions started to take their toll on both teams, the pace of the game dropped although Osama Omari still mustered the energy to fire a low drive towards the Guam goal with 12 minutes left on the clock, but Jaye comfortably collected.

Al Mawas finally added a third for Syria when he latched on to Mohammad Al Hallak’s through ball five minutes from the end, stroking his effort coolly past Jaye to complete the scoring.

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