MELAKA, Malaysia, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Desperate China got a 2-2 draw with Syria here on Tuesday in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualification, making the hope of advancing slim.
China, which almost dominated the game, suffered an early blow just 12 minutes into the duel. Fahad Youssef was touched down by China goalie Zeng Cheng inside the box and Mahmoud Almawas sent the ball to the bottom corner from the spot.
China coach Marcello Lippi reduced the number of defenders to three after the interval and China tied the score in the 68th minute through a penalty kick by forward Gao Lin.
Midfielder Wu Xi gifted China 2-1 lead on 75 minutes with a close-range volley.
However, Ahamd Salih smashed China's hope for a win in injury time with a curling free kick.
China now stands fifth in the Asian Zone qualification Group A with 6 points from 8 matches and only two matches remain.
Iran top Group A with 20 points from 8 matches and have already qualified for the World Cup finals. South Korea rank second with 13 points from 7 matches, followed by Uzbekistan 12 points from 8 matches, Syria 9 points from 8 matches. Qatar are at bottom with 4 points from 7 matches.
The top two will directly qualify for the Russian World Cup and the third placer will be into playoff with their counterparts in Group B.