Jouma confident ahead of Qatar clash

 

 

Syria coach Mohamad Jouma immediately set his sights on the final Group D match against Qatar after Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Australia failed to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

With Syria having swept aside Saudi Arabia 5-1 and the Young Socceroos having edged Qatar 1-0 a second victory for either side would have secured at least second in the table and with it a place in the last eight.

After a goalless first-half Mahmoud Al Mawas broke the deadlock in the 76th minute but the midfielder's fourth of the tournament was not enough to give the Syrians all three points, with Corey Gameiro earning the Young Socceroos a share of the spoils with nine minutes remaining.

"The match was very strong as the two teams were looking to get the win and guarantee reaching the quarter final", said Jouma.

 "We were the better side, and we had many chances unlike the Australians who got only two or three chances".

 "In the last five minutes the two teams were satisfied with the draw. Our final match against Qatar will be easier than Australia's match against Saudi Arabia but we will never under estimate the Qatari team who performed very well against Australia in the first match and today against Saudi Arabia.

 "In the final match against Qatar we will look for the win, even though the draw will be enough to reach the second round because we always play for the win and we want to take first place in the group."

Although the 2010 AFC U-19 Championship runners-up also failed to get the win that would have qualified them to the last eight in the UAE, Australia coach Paul Okon expressed his satisfaction with the point against a Syrian side that swept aside the Saudis in their opening fixture.

"I am very happy, and I think we had a great performance against a strong team who won by five goals against Saudi Arabia two days ago," said the former Australian international.

"I appreciate the effort of my players and scoring the equaliser was a reward for the team for all the efforts they put in over the last two days to prepare for this match.

"This was a decisive match, with both teams looking for the three points that would help on the road to the World Cup. We were nervous in the first half as we knew that Syrian players would start the match strongly, so we needed some time to adapt to the situation."

Syria's U-19 team miss a chance to seal a place in knock out phase

 

Syria and Australia missed the chance to seal their place in the knockout phase of the 2012 AFC U-19 Championship after the two played out a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

With Syria having swept aside Saudi Arabia 5-1 and the Young Socceroos having edged Qatar 1-0 a second Group D victory for either side would have secured at least second in the table and with it a place in the quarter-finals.

After a goalless first-half Mahmoud Al Mawas broke the deadlock in the 76th minute but the midfielder's fourth of the tournament was not enough to give the Syrian side all three points, with Corey Gameiro earning the Young Socceroos a share of the spoils with nine minutes remaining.

Syria started the stronger of the two and almost took a third minute lead when Omar Kharbin's long-range shot rattled the crossbar before Australia keeper Paul Izzo was on hand to save Mouaiad Al Ajaan's 17th minute shot from just outside the area.

The Syrian side dominated the opening exchanges and Australia didn't really threaten until the 35th minute when Syria keeper Shaher Al Shakir was called into action to deny Gameiro's effort from the left side of the area.

The second half started with a slow tempo with both sides cautious of losing the match and the first attempt on goal not coming till the hour mark when Izzo denied Adnan Al Taki before a poor final touch with only the keeper to beat saw Adam Taggart squander a 68th minute opportunity for Australia.

The opening goal finally came with little over quarter-of-an-hour left to play when Al Mawas controlled a long pass and beat Izzo for his fourth goal of the campaign, which took him joint-top of the scoring charts alongside Uzbekistan's Igor Sergeev.

But it was not enough to give Syria their second win as Gameiro fired home an 81st minute equaliser at the near post following Ryan Williams' cross from the right.

We must keep improving says Syria star

 

Mahmoud Al Mawas may have put in one of the most impressive individual displays the recent history of the AFC U-19 Championship but Syria's hat-trick hero from the 5-1 win over Saudi Arabia insists that the team must still look to improve.

Al Mawas was the star of Sunday's one-sided victory with goals in the 8th, 14th and 69th minutes before turning provider and setting up Adnan Al Taki and Samer Salem for Syria's other two goals.

And with last year's AFC U-19 Championship runners-up Australia next up for the Syrians, Al Mawas is hoping to see a step up from their five-star performance when they face the Young Socceroos on Tuesday.

"In each match we will try be better than the match before," Al Mawas told www.the-afc.com.

"We surprised Saudi Arabia with three goals in the first 15 minutes and then we controlled the game but we all want to play better against Australia and then Qatar."

Al Mawas' virtuoso display against the Saudis was all the more surprising as the Al Karamah attacker – who had a spell with the reserve team of inaugural AFC Champions League winners Al Ain in 2009 – was playing on the right wing instead of his more familiar position up front.

"It is true that I play as forward, but I am ready to play wherever the coach wants. Against Saudi Arabia I played as a right winger, but whatever the coach requires from me I will do for the sake of the team."

Despite his tender years Al Mawas has already taken part in a number of high profile tournaments for club and country. Most recently he found the net four times during Syria's qualifying campaign for the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship and also featured in the Al Karamah squad for the Damascus giants' 2009, 2010 and 2011 AFC Cup tournaments.

Not surprisingly, the chance to play at a FIFA U-20 World Cup is high on Al Mawas' agenda and the youngster would even forgo any individual accolades in preference of qualification to next year's international tournament in Turkey.

"Of course every player wants to be the top scorer award and the MVP award and while I hope to get something with the help of my team-mates, our main target is to reach World Cup.

"But our ambition doesn't stop at reaching the World Cup. We want to also win the Asian title".

Winning over Saudi Arabia a big step,says Jom'a

 Syria coach Mohamad Jom'a said that his side's emphatic 5-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Sunday was a 'big step' towards the quarter-finals but was taking nothing for granted with matches against Australia and Qatar still to come.

 The Syrian side made the ideal start to their AFC U-19 Championship Group D campaign after three goals in the first quarter-of -an-hour of their Group D clash with Saudi Arabia laid the foundations for their comprehensive victory.

 Mahmoud Al Mawas was the star of the night with goals in the 8th, 14th and 6th minutes before turning provider and setting up Adnan Al Taki and Samer Salem for Syria's other two goals. Ahmed Al Shehri hit what proved to be scant consolation for the Saudis.

"I am very happy to get the three points in the first match especially against a Saudi Arabia team that is considered a strong contender for a ticket to the quarter finals," Jouma said.

"I expected to win but not with this margin as the Saudis are a good team.

 "Our players used their speed on the flanks to score three goals in the first 15 minutes and although we have taken a big step we still have two difficult matches against Australia and Qatar and we must do our best to get the results.

 "I watched the Australian team today and they have very good strategies and the match against them will be very difficult. But I guess that we have the physical strength to challenge them as I believe that Syria and Iraq are among the top physical teams in the tournament.

"We thank our supporters for coming in big numbers today and we are happy to get this win for them."

Saudi Arabia's stunned coach admitted that he was surprised by the quality of the Syrian side but also felt that his own side was the architects of their own downfall.

Vowing to show a marked improvement in their remaining two matches, the Spaniard said:

 "The match was very difficult and after we were unlucky not to score from our early chances the match took a different turn with the three Syrian goals.

"Their goals today came from our mistakes but I have to admit that Syria players surprised me with their physical and mental development.

"We are not satisfied after this result but hopefully we can manage to make a good come back in the next two matches.

"I believe that my team can get back and win in these next two matches. Qatar is equal to us physically and we will have Fahd Al Mowalad back and he will add a lot more striking power for the team."

AFC U-19 Championship- Syria hammers Saudi Arabia 5-1

The U-19  Syrian national team  made the ideal start to their AFC U-19 Championship campaign after three goals in the first quarter-of -an-hour of their Group D clash with Saudi Arabia laid the foundations for a comprehensive 5-1 victory on Sunday.

Mahmoud Al Mawas was the star of the night with goals in the 8th, 14th and 6th minutes before turning provider and setting up Adnan Al Taki and Samer Salem for Syria's other two goals. Ahmed Al Shehri hit what proved to be scant consolation for the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia had the first chance of the match with seven minutes at the Fujairah Stadium played when Abdulrahman Al Ghamdi's header from Saleh Al Jamaan's cross was comfortably held by Syrian keeper Shaher Al Shakir.

Two minutes later Syria made the Saudis pay for their earlier miss when Al Mawas sent the ball past Ahmad Al Harbi from the left side of the area before turning provider with an 11th minute cross from the right that was headed home by Al Taki.

Despite the two goal cushion Syria didn't sit back and extended their advantage in the 14th minute through a superb Al Mawas free-kick but the final goal of the first-half went to the Saudis when Al Shehri pounced on the rebound after Al Shakir blocked Al Jamaan's shot from outside the area on the half-hour mark.

Saudi Arabia started the second half strongly and Al Shakir denied Abdulfattah Asiri in the 47th and 54th minutes but their forays forward left gaps and the back and in the 69th minute Al Mawas latched on to a long pass and rounded Al Harbi to complete his hat-trick.

Al Mawas' display didn't end there as he had a hand in Syria's fifth in the 87th minute when he received a pass from substitute Nassouh Nakkdahli before delivering a cross for Salem to seal the emphatic win.

Syria will look now to seal their place in quarter final when they meet Australia on Monday while the Saudis will look to bounce back against Qatar, who are also desperate for their first points after losing 1-0 to the Young Socceroos.

M.D