A goal from Mahmoud Al-Mawas gave Syria a shock 1-0 victory over China in a World Cup qualifying clash in Xi’an.
The 23-year-old midfielder finished a counter-attack early in the second half to give the world’s 114th-ranked side all three points and lift them into fourth spot in Group A of the Asian section.
China, who are ranked 78th and boast one of the most lucrative domestic leagues in the world, have just one point from their opening three matches and are in real danger of missing out on a place in the 2018 finals in Russia.
The visitors – who have an estimated population of 17 million, a full 76 times smaller than that of China – should have made the win more comfortable in the 73rd minute, but Omar Kharbin missed an open goal following Al-Mawas’ cut-back.
Syria, who have to play their home matches in Oman due to the war in their homeland that has displaced millions of people, are now just three points adrift of group leaders Iran.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) October 6, 2016
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