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Azkals lose WCQ opener against Syria, 5-2

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By Erel Cabatbat

The Philippine Azkals could not sustain a good start to bow to Syria, 5-2, in their opening game in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod City.

The home team got off to a roaring start after Angel Guirado and Javier Patiño combined to produce a goal just seven minutes into the game.

Sadly after Patiño’s goal off a Guirado assist, it was an all Syria show the rest of the game.

Eight minutes later, the visitors equalized with a header coming from Omar Al Soma who took advantage off a mismatch against the Azkals’ defense.

In the 31st minute, Syria took the lead for a good with a brilliant effort from Khaled Almbayed

The first half ended, 2-1 in favor of the visitors.

In the second half, the Syrians’ offense came in full swing while the Azkals groped for form.

Syria made it 3-1 in the 48th minute courtesy of Firas Mohamad Alkhatib who scored from the spot after Daisuke Sato was called for a violation.

Al Soma netted his brace in the 56th minute to put the game beyond the Azkals’ reach.

Mike Ott trimmed Syria’s lead, 4-2 in the 86th minute before Mahmoud Almawas added another for Syria to complete the score.

The Azkals will travel tomorrow to face Guam in an away game on September 10 as they continue their campaign in the second round of the joint qualification tournament.