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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Syrian blowout ends Cambodia’s Cup run

Syrian blowout ends Cambodia’s Cup run

Cambodia’s historic journey through previously unchartered territory in the World Cup qualifying cycle ended late on Thursday night with a 6-0 blowout at the hands of a rugged Syrian side in a Group E clash at the sparsely filled Al-Seeb Stadium in Muscat.

There were around 100 home fans in the 14,000 capacity stadium watching a physically superior Syria ruthlessly exploit a rickety Cambodian defence to record an impressive scoreline, identical to the one they had delivered at Phnom Penh’s Olympic Stadium in their first leg clash on September 8 last year.

But for millions of war-ravaged Syrians, the national team’s sixth win out of seven outings came as a silver lining in nearly four years of gloom and doom.

The victory left Syria just one point behind leaders Japan as the two sides head for a massive showdown tomorrow at Tokyo’s Saitama Stadium to decide the group toppers, who will be assured of a ticket to the 12-team third round to be played between in August and September of next year.

As Cambodia returned home empty-handed with eight defeats in the five-team group phase, Syria left Muscat in a celebratory mood, their place in the third round likely secure even if they fail to get the revenge against Japan for the first leg 3-0 defeat.

The eight group winners and four best runners-up make the next phase. While Japan have already clinched their third round spot no matter what the result tomorrow, Syria’s record holds up very well among the second placed teams.

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