January 15 – Syrians will be sick of the sight of Australians after history repeated itself in Al Ain when a rocket from Tom Rogic sent the Syrians home for the second time in a year from a major tournament.
Last year it was a loss in the 2018 World Cup qualifying play-off, this year has time it was a blistering shot three minutes into extra time that ended Syrian hopes.
It was a cruel blow that left the Syrians, who have much to be admired, bottom of the group after Palestine picked up a point in their meeting with Jordan.
Syria started the match at pace and on the half-hour they thought they had the lead when Mouaiad Al Ajaan’s free-kick from distance beat Aussie keeper Matt Ryan, only to be ruled out for a defensive foul.
Australia were woken up and started to exert their own pressure and in the 41st minute took the lead from a left foot curling shot by Awer Mabil that gave Syrian keeper Ibrahim Alma no chance at his right post.
It was a short lived lead for Australia as just before half time left back Mouaiad Al Ajaan raced down the wing beyond Rhyan Grant and crossed to Omar Khrbin whose first header hit Ryan before he converted the rebound.
It took Australia nine minute after the restart to go ahead again with Rogic turning proivider for Chris Ikonomidis to push home. Syria were far from finished and with the match going into the last 10 minutes Omar Al Soma levelled from the penalty spot after a foul in the box.
And then up stepped the Celtic forward Rogic for the final say and the explosive finish to end an entertaining match `and Syrian hopes. Joy for Palestine in Abu Dhabi, despair for Syria, again.
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