Melaka: China will look to keep alive their hopes of a place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup when they are hosted by Syria in Malaysia in Group A on Tuesday, with a win at Hang Jebat Stadium taking Marcello Lippi’s side level with the fourth-placed West Asians.
The Chinese, currently in fifth spot in the group, will be without defender Mei Fang and midfielder Yin Hongbo through suspension but will be keen to avenge the shock 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture last October.
Lippi’s men warmed up for the tie in Melaka with a thumping 8-1 win over the Philippines in Guangzhou, thanks to braces from Deng Hanwen and Zhang Xizhe.
Syria, meanwhile, chalked up a pair of 1-1 draws against Oman and Japan in their build-up to the clash with China and could move a point off third and a play-off place should they secure a win and Group A leaders Islamic Republic of Iran defeat Uzbekistan.
However, the Syrians are likely to be without main striker Omar Kharbin, currently on loan at Saudi giants Al Hilal, after he missed out on the friendly in Japan.
Photo: Lagardère Sports