Nehru Cup: Ashfaq stars in Maldives win over Syria (Lead)August 28th, 2012 - 1:03 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Maldives striker Ali Ashfaq inspired his team to a 2-1 win over Syria in the Nehru Cup football tournament here Monday.
Ashfaq scored one goal and assisted for the other as Syria were knocked out of the tournament.
Syria’s bad luck with the rain continued. In the three matches they have played so far, they are yet to see dry conditions and have just one point.
Maldives kept their hopes alive with this victory. Having played three matches, they were joint toppers with India, who have played one game less, on six points.
The highly rated Ashfaq found the net for the first time in the match, heading in a Mohamed Umair’s free-kick in the 59th minute.
Syria found the equaliser from Alaa Alshbbli in the 81st minute with a sensational overhead kick, his third goal of the tournament.
At a time when the match was headed towards a draw, Ahmed Rasheed scored the winner deep into injury time, tapping in Ashfaq’s low cross to shatter Syria’s hopes.
A visibly unhappy coach of Maldives Istvan Urbanyi, who was sent off for dissent, questioned the referee’s decision to award Syria the levelling goal.
“Syria’s goal was a clear offside. People have to take responsibility for their decisions. Even India were awarded a penalty wrongly against us,” he said.
Talking about the match, he praised his young team for a fine performance.
“Our team worked very hard. We have brought a new and young team and I am very happy them.”
“Weather conditions were better for Syria because they play a more physical game,” he added.
Syrian assistant coach Anas Makhlouf criticised the pitch conditions.
“We are very disappointed by the constant rain. The weather conditions were really difficult and we couldn’t play our game. The field was just very bad,” he said.
Both teams relied on aerial balls as heavy ground conditions made the passing game difficult.
Syria adjusted to the conditions quicker with the Maldivian players struggling to build up play.
Syria were quick on the attack. Almedani’s corner-kick was met by Yasser Shoshara’s header but was cleared on the goal-line by Abdulla Asadhulla.
The Maldives, though, soon settled down and started threatening the Syrian goal.
Abdulla had a golden chance to give his side the lead but failed to find the back of the net with Syrian custodian Mosab Balhous making a fine save.
The Syrian captain was again called into action minutes later, flinging his left leg in the way of a venomous Abdulla shot.
The first half ended in a stalemate with neither teams able to break the deadlock.
The first chance of the second half fell to Syria. Mardek Mardikian, who came on as a substitute in the 46th minute made instant impact bringing out a fine save from Maldives’ goalkeeper Mohamed Imran.
Imran once again came to the rescue of his team, putting his body on the line from Mardikian’s narrow shot.
The Maldives adopted defensive tactics after the changeover, coming under heavy pressure.
With just 10 minutes to go the game took a turn for the better. The match opened up, with both teams trying to find the winner and it finally came in injury time for the Maldives.
Maldives coach Istvan Urbanyi was sent off for dissent despite his team’s late winner.
- Nehru Cup: Maldives beat Syria in dramatic fashion - Aug 28, 2012
- India will be tough opposition: Maldives coach - Aug 24, 2012
- Nehru Cup: Maldives impress against Nepal - Aug 23, 2012
- Nehru Cup: Syria come back twice against Cameroon (Lead) - Aug 25, 2012
- Nehru Cup: India scrape through 2-1 against Syria - Aug 22, 2012
- Nehru Cup: India look to continue winning ways against Maldives - Aug 24, 2012
- Nehru Cup: Syria hold Cameroon to a 2-2 draw - Aug 24, 2012
- Passing game way forward for Indian football: Coach Koevarmans - Aug 25, 2012
- SAFF Cup: Spirited Nepal held 1-1 by Maldives - Dec 02, 2011
- Nehru Cup: India dismantle Maldives, go top of the table - Aug 25, 2012
- Nehru Cup: Syria beat Nepal for first win - Aug 30, 2012
- Nehru Cup: India one win away from a third final (Preview) - Aug 27, 2012
- Nehru Cup: Cameroon beat Maldives; face India in final - Aug 29, 2012
- SAFF Cup: Maldives, Nepal move into semi-final - Dec 06, 2011
- SAFF Cup: Tough for India against Maldives in semifinal - Dec 08, 2011
Tags: 59th minute, assistant coach, bad luck, constant rain, dissent, equaliser, free kick, injury time, istvan, makhlouf, nehru cup football, nehru cup football tournament, offside, overhead kick, passing game, physical game, pitch conditions, six points, umair, weather conditions