Despite some rough and shoddy antics on the field, Syrian coach Fajr Ibrahim is proud that his team managed to claim victory over the Lions, and claims that the host country was “very lucky” that the Syrians did not score more goals.
Although the home crowd was visibly frustrated at the play-acting by various Syrian players, as well as niggly fouls that eventually saw Lions center back Madhu Mohana sent off after he lost his cool and retaliated against Omar Khribin, the Syrians edged over the home team with a slim 2-1 victory.
Having controlled proceedings after Syrian striker Omar gave them the 20th-minute lead, the visitors conceded a penalty a minute from time with Safuwan Baharudin converting the equaliser.
Syria eventually managed to seal the win with a score from Omar during over time.
When reporters asked if his side had been fortunate to win, Fajr insisted it was the hosts who should have been counting themselves lucky.
“The Singapore team were very lucky today,” he said.
“As you saw, we wasted a lot of chances to score even more and it was a different game to our first meeting in Oman (where Syria won 1-0).
“You can see Singapore got the goal only through a penalty from an individual mistake. We controlled the game and played very well.”
“It was a hard game but, with the win, we have qualified for the Asian Cup and the next round of the World Cup (qualifiers).
“This is very important, especially regarding the situation in Syria, because we have proven we are one of the 12 best teams in Asia.
“Now, all the people in my country are happy and that’s very important.”
Syria’s next qualifier will see them take on bottom side Cambodia on March 24 next year, before facing off against Japan five days later to decide the Group E champions.