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Football: Malaysia to host Syria-Australia World Cup playoff

Syrian midfielder Mardik Mardikian, second from left, is mobbed by his teammates after scoring against Japan during a friendly in Tokyo, on June 7, 2017. (File photo by AFP)
SYDNEY: Syria will play Australia in the first leg of their crucial World Cup Asian play-off in Malaysia next month, football authorities announced Thursday.
Football Federation Australia said it had received official confirmation that the Socceroos would face the war-divided nation at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka on October 5.
They will host the return leg in Sydney five days later.
Syria, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, have been forced to play all their home qualifiers in Malaysia because of the civil war back home.
The winner will take on the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF region in home and away matches in November for a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.