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Singapore and Syria Stalemate
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Saturday, Mohd Shahril of Singapore holds off Jehad Al Houssain of Syria in their clash at the Al Ahli stadiumSingapore and Syria battled out a nervous 0-0 draw as they started their 15th Asian Games campaigns in front of an expectant crowd in Group B of the men's football tournament at Al Ahli Sports Club.

Despite a festival atmosphere created inside the stadium by the fans, players from both sides failed to create the same passion on the pitch as they refused to give anything away and were obviously aware that an opening match loss would add more pressure in the remaining fixtures.

Both teams tried to claim the vital opening goal in the second half and Syria came closest to breaking the deadlock, but saw its goal-bound effort shave the post.

In an edgy finale, chances were created as the teams strived to find a late winner, but failed to convert their opportunities.

For the Lions of Singapore, another match without finding the net will be worrying for the goal-shy team, who face 2005 West Asian Games winners Iraq in its next match. Meanwhile, Syria will play Indonesia in the next round on Tuesday 21 November.

( November 18, 2006)

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