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Saida: Hadi Al Masri has vowed that Al Wahda will get a good result in the second leg of the AFC Cup West Asia Zonal final after the defender scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 victory over holders Air Force Club in the first leg on Tuesday.

The Syrian outfit went into the game having twice drawn with their Iraqi opponents in the group stage, before impressively seeing off Jordan’s Al Wehdat in the last 16.

And, after Anas Bouta gave the Damascus-based team an early lead at Saida Municipal Stadium, Al Masri’s excellent header from Osama Omari’s free-kick on 64 minutes doubled their advantage.

Al Wahda were just moments away going into the second leg in Doha in two weeks’ time with a two-goal advantage, but Hammadi Ahmed’s late strike now leaves the tie on a knife-edge.

“To be honest, their only goal came through exploiting a defensive mistake,” reflected Al Masri.

“Our defence had stayed firm throughout the match, even with the pressure they came under, because of the work of our coach, Raafat Mohammad.

“But, despite the late goal, we promise our fans that we will get a good result in the second leg.”

Al Masri, who was part of the Syrian national side that recently advanced to a play-off stage game with Australia in the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 qualifiers, has played in all nine of his team's AFC Cup games this season.

Al Wahda's victory on Tuesday was not only the defending champions’ first defeat of the campaign, but also their first since a 5-2 humbling at the hands of the same opponents in the group stage in March 2016.


Should Al Wahda avoid defeat in the reverse fixture in Doha, they will book their place in the AFC Cup final and continue the remarkable strides being made by Syrian football in recent times.

“All these results reflect on the Syrian national team so all the Syrian fans were supporting us,” added Al Masri.

“Al Wahda represents Syria, just like the national team. This is how sport is and, God willing, Syria will continue to improve more and more.”

Photos: Lagardère Sports