MUSCAT, FEB 2
Issam al Subhi’s whirlwind goal gave a surprise start to Oman in the Road to Qatar campaign in Tokyo in September last year when they stunned World Cup regulars Japan at their den.
The qualification route but had lots of unexpected turns for the Red Warriors as they stand out of the Qatar World Cup 2022 with the final two matches of the campaign remaining.
Oman are a distant fourth in Group B with eight points from eight matches.
The last result against Australia in Muscat earned Oman a hard-fought point but they remained out of the running for third place, which would have taken them into the play-off with the third-placed side from Group A.
Two wins in the upcoming two matches would not be sufficient for the Red Warriors to come on par with the Australian tally of 15 points.
Head coach Branko Ivankovic, however, was pleased with Oman’s fighting spirit in the match.
“I want to congratulate the players for the performance they had in this difficult match against a strong Australian team. They showed their ability to play against strong teams and I’m satisfied with their performance,” Ivankovic told AFC website.
“It was not an easy match for our team and everyone knows the strength and experience of the Australia team.
“We were missing many players tonight whether due to Covid-19 or injuries. Our players showed high respect to our opponents and I told them at half time that they should change this and we managed to have a good second half.”
Australian coach Graham Arnold also credited Oman players for their gritty show by coming back twice to net the equaliser.
In several matches, Oman lost by a narrow margin and the results could have gone either way.
After their stunning win against Japan on September 2, Oman returned for a home match against Saudi Arabia.
Oman dominated the encounter with ball possession and skills, but in the end it was Saudi Arabia who used their top-level experience to successfully defend a one-goal lead till the end.
Saleh al Shehri came to Green Falcons rescue with a clinical goal in the 42nd minute.
In the third round on October 7, Oman slumped to a 3-1 defeat against Australia.
Though Rabea al Mandhar hit the equaliser in the 28th minute after an early goal by Australia, Red Warriors had a forgetful second-half with the Socceroos scoring twice in Doha.
At the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat, Oman returned to winning ways against Vietnam, the lowest-ranked team in the group with a 3-1 result in the fourth round on October 12.
In Sharjah, Oman were held to a 1-1 draw by China in the fifth round on November 11.
Amjad al Harthi earned a point for the Red Warriors in the 75th minute after Wu Lei had put China in the lead in the 21st minute.
Five days later in Muscat, Japan took revenge of their Tokyo defeat in similar fashion. Junya Ito’s 81st minute goal robbed the Red Warriors of a point after an impressive outing.
In their seventh match, Oman missed out closely to hosts Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Jeddah on January 27.
The match saw several chances for the Sultanate team but went
Oman play Vietnam on March 24 and China PR on March 29 to conclude their qualification campaign.