Syria hold Australia to draw after controversial late penalty

Jackson Irvine poses

Forced to play their home matches in Malaysia due to security concerns, Syria had fallen behind when Robbie Kruse tapped in from close range in the first half but the underdogs refused to buckle to their vastly more experienced opponents.

The draw on Tuesday extended Syria's unbeaten run at its adopted Malaysian home to seven matches.

Al Soma was creating the openings for striker partner Omar Khrbin, fizzing a low ball into the Al Hilal man's feet that was steered over the bar before a similar effort saw Khrbin's scissor kick miss the target.

As the half wore on, Syria came more and more into the contest, and Omar Kharbin wasted a big chance when he fired wide from Al Soma's cross.

Australia started the brighter of the two sides in humid conditions and nearly took an early lead with midfielder Mark Milligan's effort forcing a fine save from Syrian goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma.

In the World Cup Qualifiers AFC, the team Syria meets the team Australia in the fourth round today.

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Despite that, Australia's lead was as deserving as it was anticipated.

But as the game went on, the Australian midfield exhausted, and the injection of Firas Al-Khatib almost provided immediate dividends, with the veteran striker providing two unsafe crosses on his first two dribbles, the latter of which saw the ball come off Al-Somah and into the path of Mat Ryan, before hitting the underside of the crossbar and bouncing back to the Aussie keeper.

Luck appeared to be on Australia's side when Firas Al Khatib nodded Al Soma's cross on to the post 13 minutes from the end.

Eventually, Syria claimed their deserved reward, even if the manner in which the equaliser arrived will have left Postcoglou and his players questioning referee Alireza Faghani.

Leckie blasted over on 29 minutes before Soma twice set up Omar Khribin for opportunities that the in-form Al Hilal striker put wide of the Australian goal.

With a little over 10 minutes to go, Ryan tipped Al Soma's header on to a post, and it appeared that Syria's chance was gone.

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