PH Azkals absorb heavy defeat to start World Cup qualifying bid
BACOLOD CITY – The Philippines failed to capitalize on an early advantage as it absorbed a heavy 2-5 defeat to Syria last Thursday night at the start of second round of the Fifa World Cup qualifiers at Panaad Stadium here.
Javier Patiño gave the Azkals a dream start with a header in the 6th minute, but the home side struggled to cope with the Syrians’ vaunted attack the rest of the way.
Omar Al Soma bagged a brace while Faris Al Khatib, Khaled Almbayed and Mahmoud Almawas also found the back of the net for the Syrians who took the lead in Group A on goal difference ahead kf Maldives which beat Guam, 1-0, earlier.
The Azkals started with three at the back with Alvaro Silva in the middle flanked by Martin Steuble and Daisuke Sato.
Angel Guirado got a start in his return to the national team, pairing up with Patiño up front. The partnership immediately paid off with Guirado flicking the ball to Patiño to head the opener.
But Syria quickly responded with Al Soma firing a header past Falkesgaard before Almbayad’s shot from a tight angle gave the visitors the lead. Al Khatib struck from the spot in the 48th minute after a handball on Daisuke Sato. Al Soma got his second with another header before Mike Ott pulled a goal back for the Azkals six minutes from time.
Almawas put the outcome beyond reach with a clinical finish in the 86th minute as the Syrians grabbed maximum points.
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