Saturday 24 March 2018

Spot-on Syria set up tense Sydney showdown

Australia's Mathew Leckie. Photo: Reuters
Australia's Mathew Leckie. Photo: Reuters newsdesk

Syria kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup finals by drawing 1-1 with Australia in the first leg of their play-off in Malaysia.

Omar Al Soma scored from the penalty spot with five minutes left after being fouled by Mathew Leckie, cancelling out a first-half strike from Robbie Kruse.

That extended Syria's unbeaten record at the Hang Jebat Stadium to seven outings and leaves the tie delicately poised ahead of next Tuesday's second leg in Sydney.

Elsewhere, record-breaking Poland striker Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Armenia on his way to becoming his country's all-time leading scorer.

Within the space of seven first-half minutes in Yerevan, the Bayern Munich forward equalled and then surpassed Wlodzimierz Lubanski's tally of 48 before reaching a half-century for his country when he completed his treble midway through the second half.

His 64th-minute strike was his 15th in Group E, a new record for a single European qualifying campaign, although Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is hot on his heels with 14..

Irish Independent

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