On Tuesday, Syria secured their first-ever spot in the Asian Cup last 16 with a 1-0 win over India. Omar Khribin emerged as the hero, netting the decisive goal in the 76th minute. The win propelled Hector Cuper’s team to four points in Group B, positioning them to advance as one of the top four third-placed teams.
“Today’s win marks a significant achievement for Syrian football, reaching the last 16 for the first time. The players showed determination and skill,” said Cuper in the post-match interview.
Syria dominated the early attacking plays in Doha, seeking their inaugural goal and victory in the Asian Cup. However, they were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men when Mahmood Al-Aswad’s aggressive challenge went unpunished by the lenient referee.
“The team exhibited resilience and composure, overcoming challenges on the field. We are proud of our performance,” commented Omar Khribin after scoring the crucial goal.
Despite Syrian appeals for a penalty being dismissed, they continued their pursuit, aware that a win could potentially secure a higher group standing. At halftime, with Uzbekistan trailing Australia, Syria needed more goals to surpass their rivals on goal difference.
“We fought hard in the first half, and the players showed great discipline. We knew the importance of this match in advancing to the knockout stage,” noted Cuper during the break.
India faced defensive setbacks as Sandesh Jhingan exited the game with an injury early in the second half. Syria maintained control but struggled to create clear opportunities.
“Unfortunately, injuries affected our defensive setup today. We gave our best effort, but Syria capitalized on a moment of slick football,” expressed Igor Stimac, India’s head coach.
In the closing stages, Syria brought on forward Alaa Al-Dali in a strategic move. As Indian fatigue set in, Syria executed a well-coordinated play, with Ibrahim Hesar providing a crucial cutback for Khribin to secure the historic win.
“We knew we needed goals, and the team delivered when it mattered. This victory is a testament to our hard work and dedication,” remarked Cuper in the post-match conference.
As a result, Syria advances to the knockout stage, leaving India to conclude their Asian Cup campaign with three defeats and no goals.
“It’s a disappointing end for us, but we’ll regroup and continue our efforts to make strides in international football,” concluded Stimac.