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Asian Qualifiers - Guam the centre of attention as Syria eye qualification

Syria go into the meeting with already-eliminated Guam knowing they can secure their place in the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and a berth at the Finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 with a win.

China PR, meanwhile will be hoping Guam - without a point after six matches - can do them a favour by denying Syria to give Li Tie's side hope of finishing top in the group, the only option to book a confirmed berth in the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.


Mahmoud Al Mawas helped Nabil Maloul’s side overcome the loss through injury of lead striker Omar Al Somah when he scored a hat trick in Friday’s 4-0 win over the Maldives as the Syrians edged closer to the next phase.

That win was Syria’s sixth in a row in qualifying and they will be seeking to maintain their perfect record in the competition so far on Monday.

Maloul’s side hold an eight-point lead over second-placed China PR although they will go into the match at Sharjah Stadium without the services of defender Mouaiad Al Ajmaan, who was sent off against the Maldives when he received two yellow cards in quick succession.

Guam go into the game off the back of a 7-0 loss at the hands of the Chinese in Suzhou last month and Seo Dong-won’s side have yet to secure a point in their six matches so far.

The American protectorate have no chance of moving into the qualifying positions for the FIFA World Cup and will be battling to try to avoid having to play in the qualifying rounds ahead of the third phase of the preliminaries for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.


Second-placed China PR opened up a three-point gap over the Philippines last month when Li Tie’s side handed Guam a 7-0 defeat in Suzhou and they will be looking to further enhance their claim to the runners-up slot with a win over the Azkals at Sharjah Stadium on Monday.

Chinese hopes of winning the group hinge on the outcome of Syria’s meeting earlier in the day against Guam, with a victory for Nabil Maaloul’s side ending their chances of claiming first place.

But with the runners-up from at least four of the groups also advancing to the next round, China will be focused on picking up a win against a Philippines side that frustrated them in their last meeting.

When the teams last faced off in Bacolod in October 2019 goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was in fine form as the Azkals earned a 0-0 draw with the Chinese, but the hopes of the Philippines have been hit by the Birmingham City goalkeeper’s unavailability due to injury.

The Philippines have faced a few challenges with player availability, but the delay in holding these games due to their switch from Suzhou to Sharjah mean defender Carli de Murga will now be available.

China PR, meanwhile, will be looking for more goals from their burgeoning strike force after Wu Lei, Ai Kesen and A Lan were all on target in the win over Guam as the Chinese look to keep their quest for a first FIFA World Cup Finals appearance since 2002 on track.

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