Before You Bet followers were treated to a winner in the AFC Asian Cup on Friday night as Socceroos claimed a 3-0 win against Palestine to open their tournament account. The Aussie defence stood firm to salute for our ‘win to nil’ tip at decent odds of $1.80 and we’ll be looking to continue that form as the Socceroos face off against Syria in their final group stage match on Wednesday night!
The Australians will need at least a draw against Syria on Wednesday night to ensure they advance to the knockout stage. Although even a draw might not be enough if the fourth placed team, Palestine, upsets Jordan in the other Group B round three match. Jordan will, however, be looking to capture at least a draw for themselves, as doing so would secure top spot in the group and an easier run in the first knockout round.
If there is a result between Australia and Syria, the winner will likely advance to the knockout stage, which brings back memories of the do or die face off against Syria to advance to the next stage of World Cup qualifiers back in 2017. On that occasion, Australia held firm for a 1-1 draw away from home in Syria before winning their home let 2-1 in extra time to set up a World Cup playoff with Honduras which they went on to win.
Since their unsuccessful World Cup campaign, the Socceroos have been playing some great football. They were victorious in three of four friendlies in the lead up to the Asian Cup, beating Oman 5-0, Lebanon 3-0 and Kuwait 4-0 as well as a 1-1 draw with Asian Cup fancies South Korea.
The Aussies stumbled in their first Asian Cup game against Jordan, going down 1-0 but bounced back on Friday night as they defeated Palestine 3-0 and looked clinical. The Socceroos maintained 68% possession and fired off 17 shots to just 3 as Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil and Apostolos Giannou all found the back of the net.
The big question mark leading into the game against Syria is whether or not Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will chose to play star attacking midfielder Tom Rogic or not. Arguably the best player in the Australian line-up for this tournament, Rogic received a yellow card in the game against Palestine, meaning that if he picks up another yellow, he’ll miss a potential game in the first round of the knockout stage.
The Syrians have had a largely contrasting run since their unsuccesful World Cup qualifying campaign. They have played 10 international friendlies since the date with Australia and claimed wins in just three of them, all over soccer minnows in Yemen, Kuwait and Bahrain. They have, however, lost just three of those games and picked up draws in the remaining four.
Attacking prowess has been a bit of a concern for Syria over that period. In the 10 games friendlies, they have scored just 11 goals and scored 2+ on just two occasions. While it’s not a must win game for the Socceroos, it is for Syria, who currently sit two points behind the Aussies in the group table after opening their Asian Cup campaign with a draw and a loss to Palestine and Jordan respectively.
Palestine picked up a red card in the 68th minute of their game against Syria and although the Syrians dominated posession throughout the game, they couldn’t capatilise on any of their 13 shots (4 on target). The 0-0 draw was followed by a disappointing loss to the Jordanians, in which they once again controlled the majority of the posession (65%), but couldn’t find the back of the net.
There will certainly be some bad blood amongst Australia and Syria after the Socceroos were victorious in the World Cup qualifier. The Australians will likely go into this one with a pretty defensive mindset as they likely need just a draw to advance.
With the Syrians issues finding the back of the net of late, we think they’ll find it tough to score against an Australian team that has allowed just one goal in their two games so far and who should be very stingy in defence. A 1-0 or 2-0 win to Australia seems a good bet here.
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