Muscat: Syria on Tuesday scored a double in the last three minutes of their game as they beat hosts Oman 3-1 and gained a crucial three points that keep them head-to-head with group leaders Iraq in their qualifying campaign for new tournament AFC U-14 Championship 2014.
Striker Muatasim Mustafa Adeem Al Bakri had gained the lead for Oman through his goal on 30 minutes but midfielder Salim Khalfan Rashid Al Qartoubi neutralised this effort as he bulged his own net 11 minutes later, much to the delight of the Syrians.
The 60-minute game appeared to be heading towards a tie until Mohammad Malta scored just one minute from the 60th minute mark for Syria who then rubbed salt on the Omanis' wounds through Salim Khalaf's goal on two minutes' extra time.
Syria and Iraq are now head-to-head-on perfect nine points each after their Tuesday games, but the Iraqis' three-goal goal difference superiority over the Syrians places them in pole position of their group which will see two more rounds of match to determine the sole winners who will advance to the tournament proper. Iraq, meanwhile, beat Lebanon 1-0 through Saif Husham Waham's contribution on 43 minutes while the UAE defeated Bahrain also 1-0 thanks to Sanad Essa's 30+1mins' goal.
The group's next match-ups will be today with Syria facing Iraq, the UAE against Oman and Bahrain entertaining Lebanon.
Group A standings: Iraq – 9 points; Syria – 9 points; UAE – 4 points; Oman – 3 points; Lebanon – 1 point; Bahrain – 0 point