05272017

How Syria won their ‘most important match’

Syria national football team

Syria have won two and drawn two games so far in the third round of their Asian qualifying group

It was goalless after 90 minutes and Syria’s dreams of qualifying for their first World Cup were fading fast.

Then Omar Kharbin converted a bold, Panenka-style stoppage-time penalty to earn victory over Uzbekistan and make an appearance at Russia 2018 a realistic goal.

Syria, in fourth, move within one point of their opponents in Asian Qualifying Group A. The top two qualify automatically, with the third-place side advancing to a continental play-off.

As we reported in Syria: Football on the frontline on Wednesday, the Syrians are playing their home fixtures at neutral venues, and Malaysia has been their “home” since last September.

BBC Sport’s Richard Conway travelled to Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca to watch the game…

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