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World Cup 2018 qualifying: Syria, Australia expect a hard fought battle

World Cup 2018 qualifying: Syria, Australia expect a hard fought battle
Ayman Hakeem (left) and Syria's football team captain Mhd Zaher Al Ghunaimi during a press conference at Stadium Hang Jebat on Wednesday. --fotoBERNAMA
MELAKA: Both Syria and Australia football team are expecting a tough fight in their World Cup 2018 qualifying playoff first leg match at the Hang Jebat Stadium, Krubong here tonight.

Syrian Head Coach, Ayman Hakeem said facing the Socceroos, one of the best football teams in Asia, will not be a 'walk in the park' but believed his boys will give their all in getting the best result.
"It is all about giving the smile back to our people and we will do our best to achieve that. This is the first time Syria has come this far after hard fought matches against other strong teams," he told the pre-match press conference at Hang Jebat Stadium here, on Wednesday.

After the game on Wednesday, Syria, fondly known as 'The Red Eagles', will face Australia in their second leg match in Sydney on Oct 10.
The triumphant team will face Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) fourth place finishers in the confederation group qualifying to grab a slot in the World Cup 2018 finals in Russia.

Talking about his tactics, Hakeem admitted that his team had some trouble with their defensive line but was adamant that it will not stop his team from giving a hard time to the Aussies.

"Our boys will not give up no matter what happens in the match, that is our best quality that I can count on my boys. No matter what they give us, just bring it on," he said.

Australia's Head Coach Ange Postecoglou said his team will stick to the core strategy of their game namely dominating the game via hard fought possession and taking advantage of the chances they create.

He said the cow grass pitch in Hang Jebat Stadium seem to fit with the slow tempo shown by the Syrians in their recent games but he had something up his sleeve to counter the tactics deployed by the opposition.

"We will try and keep the tempo really quick and that's going to take a physical toll on all players. When we get to Sydney (second leg), we will have the opportunity to throw in some fresh legs. It'll be up to the opposition to see how they cope with that," he said.

-- BERNAMA