NEW DELHI: A goal deep into second half stoppage time by Ahmed Rasheed saw Maldives edge past Syria 2-1 and stay in the hunt for a place in the final of the Nehru Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday (August 27). The loss rang exit bells for Syria. While Maldives have 6 points from three matches, Syria could muster only 1 from that many outings.
Rasheed scored in the dying minutes of the match latching on to a cross from his captain Ali Asfaq. Ali had found the back of the net earlier in the 59th minute when he headed home from close range from a Umair Mohammed floater. But his goal was cancelled out by an acrobatic bicycle kick from Syrian striker Alaa Al Shbli in the 81st minute.
Maldives’ celebrations were cut short when their coach Istvan Urbanyi was shown the red card for not being able to control his emotions and kicking a water bottle.
Earlier, torrential downpour forced the match to start 75 minutes late. The islanders came close to scoring in the 3nd minute but captain Ali’s left footer flew over the bar from inside the box. Then in the 19th minute, Syria’s Yasir Shushara broke away from his markers to head a Mohammed Zahir Almedani corner. A goal line clearance by Maldives’ Abdulla Asadhulla came to the rescue.
Abdulla came close to scoring in the 39th minute but veteran goalkeeper Mosab Balhos charged forward to collect the ball from a one on one situation.
August 28: India vs Nepal (7pm).
By Debayan Mukherjee