Wed, Oct 4, 11:16am by Head Editor
Date and Time: Thursday October 5, 11:30pm AEST
Venue: Hang Jebat Stadium, Krubong, Malaysia
TV: Fox Sports
After failing to secure direct qualification to the World Cup for the first time since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, Australia’s road to Russia takes them to Malaysia this week, for an away leg against war-ravaged Syria on Thursday night.
Depsite skipper Mile Jedinak being ruled out with a groin injury, it is the Socceroos who will go in as favourites, with Sportsbet offering $1.80 for a crucial win.
Syria, who have never qualified for a World Cup and have been forced to play all their home games in neutral Malaysia due to the security situation at home, are out at $4.40, with the draw – which would be a good result for Australia with a home leg to come on Tuesday in Sydney – at $3.50.
The Socceroos failed to score in just one of the 10 qualifiers and they should eventually find a way past the Syrian defence, with the class of Celtic’s Tom Rogic and Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy eventually finding a way to bring a narrow advantage back to home soil.
Mooy is $6.50 to score at any time, while Rogic is in at $3.75 but it is his namesake Tom Juric who is the pick in this market, at $2.88. Matthew Leckie represents real value at $5, having scored four goals in five games for Bundesliga club Hertha Berlin.
The Qasioun Eagles have one of the most in-form strikers in Asia, in Al Hilal’s Omar Khrbin, who is fresh off a hat-trick that he scored in the first leg of his club’s Asian Champions League semi-final meeting with Persepolis of Iran last week. He’s at $3.50 to hit the back of the net at any time.
Omar Al Somah, who was on target in Syria’s last start 2-2 draw with Iran, is just behind Khrbin, at $4.25. Scoring goals hasn’t been easy for the Syrians during their qualifying campaign though, they’ve netted just nine goals from their 10 games, compared with Australia’s 16.
Despite losing just one game in qualifying, Ange Postecoglou’s men find themselves in this make or break AFC World Cup qualifier. They collected six points more than Syria managed in the other group and it is for that reason we expect Australia to get a result they need in this first leg.
Suggested Bet: Draw/ Australia in Half Time/ Full Time market: $4.50
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