Maldives stay in final race, knock Syria out
After two dry days, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium once again resembled a soaked rag. A heavy downpour in the evening delayed the kick-off of the match between Maldives and Syria by over an hour.
Outclassed 0-3 by the hosts in their previous encounter, the Maldivians needed a win to stay in contention for a berth in the final. The situation for Syria was even more dire — with a loss against India and a hard-fought draw against Cameroon, the West Asian outfit was in desperate need of the full three points.They started well, keeping the ball for most part and creating most of the early chances, but failed to convert any on the waterlogged pitch. Their opponents made them pay, taking the lead through Ali Ashfaq just shy of the hour mark. But with less than 10 minutes to go for the final whistle, Alaa Al Shbli, who also scored against India as well as Camero-on, equalised with an acrobatic scissors kick.
With a draw on the cards, Maldives caught Syria on the break, Ahmed Rasheed sliding in to score the winner deep into added time.