Syria snatch late draw with Oman
© AFP

Syria narrowly escaped defeat against Oman during the opening game of a three-team play-off series for Olympic qualifying, scoring an equaliser in injury time to draw 1-1.

Syria's Ahmad Aldouni saved Syria from an embarrassing defeat with a looping header in the 95th minute after Oman had taken a shock lead. Oman's captain Al Hadhri Hussain Ali Farah scored in the 44th minute of play, and the Sultanate kept up the pressure throughout the second half, although were unable to capitalise on a number of golden opportunities to score.

The equaliser came as a relief to Syria, coached by Rui Almeida, ahead of a crucial game with Uzbekistan on Tuesday at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi. They went a man down after Hussein Aljwayed was shown a red card, but Oman were unable to make the most of the opportunity presented to them.

Syria went into the match as favourites, with Oman's presence in the Olympic play-offs described as "a miracle" by head coach Paul Le Guen at the pre-match press conference.

Oman's qualification to the play-offs came after they were awarded a 3-0 victory in their fixture with Qatar. The 27 November match between the two sides originally ended in a 1-1 draw, but Qatar had fielded an ineligible player.