AFC U-23 Olympic Qualifiers: Syria thrash India 4-0 to knock them out of the qualifying campaign
Omar Kharbin and Mahmoud Al Maowas scored two goals each to secure a comfortable 4-0 win for the Syrian U-23 team over the Indian U-23 side. In the process, the Indians are knocked out of the AFC U-23 Olympic qualifiers. Mahmoud Al Maowas scored the opening goal of the game in the 14th minute from a brilliant team move. Omar Kharbin then doubled the margin at the stroke of half time from a corner. Kharbin completed his brace in the 61st minute. Maowas later went on to score the final goal in the 82nd minute.
Syria dominated from the very first minute of the game. They enjoyed better ball possession but failed to create positive chances. The breakthrough finally came in the 14th minute when Mahmoud Al Maowas found the back of the net from a well coordinated team move.
India failed to recoup from the setback and looked helpless in front of the Syrian dominance. They struggled to create openings in front of the goal. Around the half hour mark, Indian custodian Amrinder Singh pulled off a good save to help India avoid further blushes.
Thongkhosiem Haokip was introduced in the 35th minute in place of an ineffective Holicharan Narzary to improve India’s game upfront.
Omar Kharbin finally increased their lead at the stroke of half time from a short corner. The Indian defense was yet again caught napping as Syria took a formidable 2-0 lead at the first half itself. India’s elimination for the qualifiers was almost certain now, as it was practically impossible for them to turn the odds in their favour.
Irrespective of the 2 goals setback, India came back strongly in the second half. They attacked more and their approach looked positive. Jayesh Rane moved swiftly down the flank and released a quality ball for Haokip. The Pune FC forward attempted a shot on target but was saved. Few minutes later Haokip yet again tested the Syrian keeper, but this time it was straight at him.
Around the hour mark, Jayesh Rane unleashed a long-range shot from 25 yards away from the goal. But unluckily it hit the woodwork. India was looking very positive at that point of time.
But against the run of the play at the 61st minute, Omar Kharbin scored for the second time in the match to increase the margin to 3-0. The goal was a product of a quality team movement.
Troubles increased for Indian outfit when side-back Shankar Sampingiraj was sent off in the 72nd minute for an off-the-ball challenge. The game now seemed to have moved out of India’s hands completely.
In the 82nd minute, Mahmoud Al Maowas hammered the last nail on India’s coffin by completing his brace. 10 men India was unable to stop the mighty Syrians.
India’s journey in the Olympic qualifiers ends on an embarrassing note. They will now play the last group match against Bangladesh, which will be a mere formality.
The young Indian side that impressed in the previous game against Uzbekistan were well below par today against Syria. But overall it has been a learning process for the Indian side.