AFC U-23 Championship: Syria keep quarter-final hopes alive

Syria picked up their first point of the AFC U23 Championships, to keep their hopes of a quarter-final place alive.

A goalless draw against Korea Republic leaves Syria with a slim chance of reaching the knockout stages, but they will need to beat Vietnam in the final Group D encounter on Wednesday.

The Koreans, meanwhile, moved to the top of the table with a point and now only need a draw from their last group game against Australia to qualify for the quarter finals.

“We had many good opportunities to score but we couldn’t finish so the result was a draw,” said Korea Republic head coach Kim Bong-gil.

“But from now on, we will prepare for the game against Australia and we will show our best.”

Yoong Seung-won was the dangerman for Korea Republic in the opening 45 minutes after carving out a number of opportunities which he failed to make the most from.

But it was Syria who came closest to a first half breakthrough when Mohamad Rafat fired just wide of the top corner, five minutes before the interval.

Han Seung-gyu saw his deflected shot drift just wide early in the second half and then drew a smart save out of Syria keeper Khalid Ibrahim just after the hour mark.

At the other end, Rafat flicked an effort just wide from Ahmad Al-Ahmad’s cross.

Korea Republic finished the game with 10 men after Kim Moon-hwan was sent off for a second yellow card in stoppage time.

Syria head coach Hussein Afash said: “We had some problems in the transition from defence to attack and if we didn’t have those problems, we could have produced a better performance and a better result.”