AFC - Syria will look for the perfect ending to their fairytale run in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign with a win over Group A winners Islamic Republic of Iran at Azadi Stadium on Tuesday to guarantee at least a play-off berth for the Qasioun Eagles.
Syria sit two points behind second-placed Korea Republic and above fourth-placed Uzbekistan on goal difference with the Koreans and the Uzbeks facing off in Tashkent in a simultaneous kick-off, meaning a win could even see the visitors claim second spot and a historic first-ever FIFA World Cup appearance.
But the Syrians will be aware of the difficulty of the task as their opponents are unbeaten so far and have yet to concede a single goal in this campaign – something that has provided Iran with huge motivation even after wrapping up their qualification with a win over Uzbekistan in June.
A scoreless draw with Korea Republic on Thursday saw Iran move to just one game away from finishing the group stage with their record still intact, although Saeid Ezatolahi’s dismissal means the midfielder is suspended for Tuesday’s encounter.
Syria’s 3-1 win over Qatar saw them leapfrog the Uzbeks into third and leaves them with a very realistic chance of finishing in the top three. With Omar Khribin and the recently recalled Omar Al Soma leading the frontline, Ayman Hakeem’s side have the firepower to trouble the stubborn Iranian defence.