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Asian Cup Qualifying Preview: Singapore v Syria

The two strugglers in Asian Cup Group A qualifying go head to head on Tuesday, as Singapore host Syria.

The Syrians have one point from their opening two encounters, to hold third spot in the group while the Singaporeans are yet to score through 180 minutes – shipping six goals in the process.

Syria – chasing back-to-back appearances at Asian football’s pinnacle tournament – earned a 1-1 draw against Jordan in their most recent qualifier, with Burhan Sahiwni’s second international goal earning them their first point in the group stages.

That result was sandwiched by friendly losses to Iraq and Lebanon, although neither were abominations for Anas Makhlouf’s men given Syria’s FIFA ranking of 143rd is lower than those two sides.

Their point against 73rd-ranked Jordan rates highly, with the latter into the intercontinental playoff for a World Cup spot.

Singapore arrested a worrying form slump of three losses with a 1-0 friendly victory over Laos on Thursday at the Jalan Besar Stadium – the venue for their Syria battle.

A result either way is vital for these two teams, as a draw would leave Syria on just two points and Singapore one at the midway point of qualifying.

Third place in the group is still important too, with the team with the highest points tally outside the top-two teams in the five groups also advancing.

Iraq is the incumbent of that spot with three points and an even goal difference, while Malaysia and Lebanon also have three points ahead of Syria and Uzbekistan.

The only head-to-head clash between the two nations ended 0-0 at the Asian Games in November 2006.

Sat 12 October, 2013
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