Muscat: Hosts Saudi Arabian Olympic team edged past Oman 2-1 on Saturday night to advance to the final match of the West Asian Under-23 Championship which will conclude on Tuesday.
Despite Oman leading by a Al Faraj al Kiumi goal in the 25th minute, Saudi came back strongly when Mohammed al Miran scored the equaliser after ten minutes. Al Miran delivered the triumph to his team as he scored the most important goal in the 55th minute to take his team to the concluding game of the West Asian U23 Championship.
Qatar secured the second slot for the final match after they defeated Syria 6-5 in the penalty shoot-out. The regulation time ended at 1-1 draw.
Hosts Saudi Arabia will meet Qatar in the final clash while Oman will take on Syria in the third/fourth play-off match. Both matches will take place on Tuesday.
Against Qatar, Syria’s Fawaz Bughadaji took the lead in the 53rd minute. The response was very quick from the rivals as Qatari player Mustafa Kadeera netted the equaliser two minutes later. The competition was very tough even in the penalties as it ended at 6-5 after top performance from both goalkeepers -- Y Balideh from Qatar and Ayoub from Syria team.
The Saudi team will look to clinch their first title as they were positioned in the runners-up in the previous edition of the championship. Jordan defeated Saudi Arabia in the 2021 edition final and they will chase for the first historic title in this edition.
On the other hand, the Qatar team will raise the same target as they will try to win the first trophy of West Asian U23 Championship. Qatar’s best accomplishment was in 2015 in Doha when they ended the tournament in third place.
After missing the final, Oman boys will look to complete their participation in the Asian tournament in third place as they will meet Syria on Tuesday at Al Jhawhra Stadium.
Oman Olympic team secured a slot in the semifinal as they beat Lebanon in the opening match 4-2 of group A and then suffered a 1-0 loss against Qatar in the following match. Qatar topped the group by four points while Oman came in second with three points. Lebanon were in last place with one point only.
This tournament is part of the Oman team’s preparation for the future assignments including the Asian qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.