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Syria fully deserve top spot, says Ebrahim

Dubai: Head coach Fajr Ebrahim believes Syria’s recent hard work is starting to pay handsome dividends after watching his side record a fifth successive Asian Qualifiers victory thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Philippines on Tuesday.

Ward Salama’s first-half goal proved the difference at Dubai’s Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium as Syria reinforced their position at the top of the Group A standings by going eight points clear of second-placed China PR.

With progress through to the next phase of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying – and a place at the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 – now tantalisingly close, Ebrahim is adamant that Syria fully deserve to be where they are.

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“Our result is the fruit of our efforts in the past months. We deserve to be on top of the group after five consecutive victories,” he said.

“We must be happy, and our fans deserve to be happy with our results.

“So far, we have achieved the goal that we wanted which was to secure first place in the group and achieve maximum points.”

While clearly delighted by the result, Ebrahim was left somewhat disappointed by Syria’s inability to turn their first-half superiority into a much more convincing success against a Philippines team which rallied well after the break.

“We had a perfect performance in the first half,” declared the 55-year-old tactician whose latest stint with his nation began during this year’s AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

“We created many scoring chances in the first period, but things changed in the second half.”

Goalscorer Salama was quick to reiterate Ebrahim’s comments, adding that he was, nevertheless, delighted to have bagged another three points.

“The match was not easy,” said the Al Jaish midfielder.

“We had the upper hand in the first half, but we failed to continue with the same [level of] performance in the second period.”

“However, the most important thing is that we won the match and got the three points,” he added.

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