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Azkals fall to Syria at start of FIFA World Cup bid

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Philippine Azkals suffered their toughest loss in recent memory, falling to Syria, 2-5, at the start of their campaign in the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod on Thursday night.

Despite a solid start, the Azkals gave up four Syrian goals in succession that sealed their fate.

Javi Patino put the sold-out crowd into frenzy after scoring in the seventh minute.

However, Omar Al-Soma answered with a 15th minute goal that tied the game up.

Khaled Ambayer then put Syria ahead with his 31st minute goal.

Firas Al-Khatib then turned the match into a blowout, scoring Syria's third goal in the 48th minute, or three minutes into the second half.

Al-Soma then completed a brace after he headed in a 55th minute goal to make it 4-1.

Daisuke Sato tried to push a late rally for the Azkals after scoring in the 84th minute, but Mahmoud Al Mawas finally shut the door after drilling the insurance goal in the 86th minute.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno