Syria’s hopes of reaching their first World Cup took a blow as they lost their latest qualifier in South Korea.

A 1-0 victory over Uzbekistan on Thursday had given them a chance of at least advancing to a play-off stage.

That match was played in Malaysia, where Syria’s home games are being held because of the ongoing civil war in the Middle Eastern country.

But the 1-0 loss in Seoul on Tuesday leaves them four points adrift of the third-place finish they need.

Uzbekistan widened their lead over fourth-placed Syria with a 1-0 victory over Qatar, who remain bottom in Group A of Asian qualifying with three matches to play.

South Korea’s win, secured through a fourth-minute goal from Hong Jeong-ho, ensures they keep the pressure on group leaders Iran, who beat China 1-0 to go four points clear.

The top two teams in the group qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The third-placed team would have to win two play-off ties to advance.

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