Omar Khrbin’s late penalty earned Syria a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan on Thursday evening as Ayman Al Hakeem’s side moved into contention for an automatic berth at the finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The goal, which came in the 91st minute, and the three points it earned allows the Syrians to move to within two points of second-placed Korea Republic, who lost 1-0 to China earlier in the evening. Syria sit in fourth place in the group on eight points, just a point behind Uzbekistan.
The game looked to be heading towards a stalemate until Egor Krimets clumsily brought down Firas Al Khatib in the area and Khrbin showed remarkable calmness to chip his penalty home after Aleksandr Lobanov had dived to his left.
Thus the situation in the group is getting "interesting" with Syria and China back in contention for the automatic berths. Uzbekistan's Russia 2018 World Cup hopes are still largely alive despite loss due to Korea Republic's defeat. In the next Matchday 7 on March 28, Uzbekistan will host Qataris who will virtually have their last chance to remain in contest, China is travelling to Iran for another make-or-break encounter, while Syria will head to Seoul for probably their hardest match in the round so far against Korea Republic.