MD1 - Group A: Philippines 2-5 Syria
Bacolod City: Syria turned on the power as they saw off the Philippines 5-2 to open their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers campaign emphatically on Thursday.
Syria had come into the Group A tie after a difficult 2019 WAFF Championship and the Philippines had been confident of taking the three points in a meeting between two teams who had been part of the cast at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 earlier this year.
Instead, it was the West Asians who took full points as they recovered from going behind in the sixth minute to power past the Philippines.
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The home team enjoyed a dream start at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod City with Javier Patiño giving them the lead to send the fans into raptures.
Syria, however, were far from demoralised as they came charging back and Omar Al Soma hit the first of his two goals in the 14th minute to draw his side level.
Fajr Ibrahim's grew into the match from that point on and Khaled Mobayed ensured they held the lead going into the half-time break with his effort at the half-hour mark.
Three minutes into the restart, Syria edged ever closer to the three points as captain Firas Al Khatib widened their lead.
A desperate Philippines pushed forward, only to be hit again as Al Soma found the back of the net again in the 55th minute.
Philippines pulled one back through substitute Mike Ott in the 83rd minute but Mahmoud Al Nawas hit back for Syria almost immediately as he restored their advantage just two minutes later.
The Philippines will now have to travel to Guam for their next match on Tuesday while Syria will not be in action again till October 5 when they play Maldives at home.
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