(File pix) Syria will host the first leg of the Asian World Cup playoff against Australia on Oct. 5 in the Malaysian city of Melaka, Football Federation Australia said on Thursday. Reuters Photo

SYDNEY: Syria will host the first leg of the Asian World Cup playoff against Australia on Oct. 5 in the Malaysian city of Melaka, Football Federation Australia said on Thursday.

The Syrians, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, have played all their “home” qualifiers in Malaysia since FIFA banned them from hosting matches in their war-torn country.

Victory in the two-legged tie against Australia, who will host the second leg at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium on Oct. 10, would send Syria into a playoff against the fourth-placed side from the North and Central America qualifiers.

The winners of the intercontinental playoff will secure a berth in the 32-team field for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia. -- Reuters

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