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Maaloul applauds Syria players for Asian Qualifiers masterclass

Sharjah: Syria head coach Nabil Maaloul called his players “heroic” after their 3-0 win over Guam on Monday sealed their place in the third round of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and earned a berth at the Finals of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Two early goals from Mardik Mardikian sent the Syrians on their way to their seventh win in a row in Group A before Mahmoud Al Mawas added a third and that perfect record secured top spot in the standings for Maaloul’s team.

China PR are in second but cannot surpass the Syrians despite their win over the Philippines at Sharjah Stadium later on Monday, leaving Maaloul elated at his team’s progress.

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"With God’s help we managed to get the second win in a row, to qualify for Asian Cup 2023 in China, and the final round of World Cup qualifiers, as the top team in the group,” the Tunisian coach posted on Twitter.

"I provide my heartful thanks to everyone who helped the team to qualify, especially the heroic players.”

Even though Syria’s passage to the next round has been guaranteed, Maaloul stressed his players would not be easing off in their final game against the Chinese as they aim to finish the Group A schedule with a perfect record.

"Our next step is the match against China, (and we want) to continue the joy of qualification with the full points from that match.”

Syria take on China PR on June 15 with Li Tie’s side needing to win that game to enhance their hopes of taking one of the best runners-up positions available in the next phase of the competition.

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