Despite an improved performance, the Philippines yielded to Syria by a solitary goal in their return fixture in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 / AFC Asian Cup China 2023 preliminary joint qualifiers round 2 last night at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Azkals of Goran Milojevic saw their unbeaten run end in three matches. Ward Salama’s 23rd minute effort inside the box became the lone difference in the Group A match.
Even with Neil Etheridge in goal and Martin Steuble returning from suspension at right back, the Azkals missed their chances in the second half as they remain at third with seven point. Syria won their fifth match to extend their gap to eight points between them and second placed China PR.
The loss made the Azkals split the November fixtures, after they won in Maldives, 2-1, last week.
However, it was a huge improvement from their first meeting in Bacolod last September, as leading goalscorer Omar Al Somah was contained by the Philippine defense.
Syria: Alma (GK), Al Saleh, Ajan, Midani, Salama, Al Somah ©, Al-Mawas, Omari (Khribin 70’), Hameesheh (Al Issa 83’), Jwayed, Al Marmour (Al Nakdali 75’)
Philippines: Etheridge (GK), Alvaro Silva, De Murga (Woodland 89’), Strauss, Ramsay, Baas, Schrock ©, Reichelt, Dizon (Mike Ott 67’), Guirado (Hartmann 58’), Steuble