Oman determined to create history

Abu Dhabi: Oman’s desire to create more history will drive them when they take on Islamic Republic of Iran in their AFC Asian Cup Round of 16 tie at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Three-time champions Iran may be the favourites but Oman, said skipper Ahmed al Mahaijri, are not daunted with the prospect of facing the Continent’s top ranked team.
“Iran is a very strong team but so are we. We played Japan and Uzbekistan and we showed that we can hold our own against teams who are ranked much higher than us,” said Al Mahaijri.
“We have already created history by making the knockout stage but we are not satisfied with just that. We want to create more history.”
Oman advanced to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third-placed teams, qualifying for the knockout stage for the first time in four appearances.
It is a well deserved achievement as the Gulf Cup champions came through a challenging group. A lapse in concentration saw them falling to a late 2-1 defeat against Uzbekistan and they produced a gritty performance in the 1-0 loss to Japan.
They saved their best for last as late goals saw them overcome Turkmenistan 3-1, a result which confirmed their knockout stage berth.
“What we showed in all three matches is that we will fight till the final second. We are a team and we complement one another very well,” said the midfielder, 33, who scored the opening goal against Oman with a sublime free-kick.
“Playing Iran is something that we are really looking forward to. These are the kind of games we want to play.
“It will be a difficult match for us but we will make it difficult for Iran too. We want to give more joy to our fans and we are aiming to
do just that.”