Ahmedabad: Tajikistan registered their second win of the Intercontinental Cup in Ahmedabad on Wednesday when they overcame a scratchy first half to defeat Syria 2-0.
Both teams came into the match with a win each and another three points would be crucial in their bid to make the final.
After a first half in which Syria had dominated, Tajikistan struck through Tursunov Komron and Ilhomjon Barotov to take a huge step towards the final as the Central Asians turned on the power in the second half - as they had done in their 4-2 win over India on Matchday One - to seal the points.
Syria, with head coach Fajr Ibrahim opting to field four players who had not started in the 5-2 win over DPR Korea, began on the front foot and hit the woodwork three times in a frustrating first half as Shadi Al-Hamwi and Mohammad Almarmour were both denied.
Tajikistan, on the other hand, had nothing to show and despite Syria not finding the back of the net, the West Asians looked the most likely to win heading into the break.
That, however, changed very quickly just two minutes into the restart as Komron struck a stunner from 35 yards out to which Syrian custodian Ibrahim Alma had no answer.
A boosted Tajikistan turned on the pressure and their positive approach paid off handsomely when Barotov scored his first international goal in the 67th minute.
A stung Syria tried to fight back but Tajikistan were steely in their defending and held on for the three points.
Up next for Tajikistan will be DPR Korea on Monday while Syria will face hosts India in the final preliminary stage match on Tuesday.
India play DPR Korea first on Saturday as the teams continue their buildup towards the second preliminary round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 which kick off in September.
Photos: All India Football Federation