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Nehru Cup: Syria crush high-flying Lankans

Source: PTI
August 24, 2009 21:14 IST
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A rampaging Syria crushed Sri Lanka 4-0 in their second round-robin match as the West Asians bolstered their favourites tag in the Nehru Cup international football tournament in Delhi on Monday.

Syria, who won their campaign-opener against Kyrgyzstan 2-0, led 3-0 during the breather with goals from star striker Mohammad Al Zino (26th minute), Abdul Razak Al Houssain (33rd) and Abdul Fatah Alaga (37th).

Fatah Alaga (55th) struck another in the second half to give his side their second successive win in the tournament at the floodlit Ambedkar Stadium.

Syria now have six points from two matches and are in a strong position to make it to the final of the five-nation tournament.

Even a draw from their remaining two round-robin matches may ensure them a berth in the final.

The Lankans, who stunned Lebanon 4-3 in their opening match, were brought down to earth as they were completely outplayed by their physically as well as technically superior opponents, who are much higher in FIFA rankings at 95 (against Sri Lanka's 156th).

As early as 15th minute Fatah Alaga's shot from the top of the box hit the right corner of Sri Lankan goal and went out of play.

The West Asians then scored as many as three goals in the space of 10 minutes.

First, Al Zino shot home after a fine Wael Ayan low cross had beaten the Lankan goalkeeper HMA Kumara in 27th minute.

Six minutes later, Al Houssain, who created havoc with his runs inside Lanka box, made a powerful header connecting an Alaa Alshbli cross from the right.

Three minutes later he again rounded off the Lankan custodian but his left footer went wide. Next minute it was the turn of Fatah Alaga to tap in a low cross from Wael Ayan.

The Sri Lankans did a tad better in the second half but failed to score even once though they got a couple of chances.

In the 66th minute, last match's hat-trick man MNM Issadeen missed a sitter with his left footer with only the goalkeeper to beat flew inches off left upright.

In the 80th minute, S Satheeswaran's shot was right on target but somehow hit the outstretched legs of Syrian goalkeeper and captain Mosab Balhous.

Before that, in the 55th minute, Fatah Alaga found the net from a Al Zino pass after Abdul Razaq's shot was deflected by the Lankan goalkeeper.

Syria next take on Lebanon on Thursday.

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