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Oman, China U-20s play out draw in Dubai

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Muscat: Oman U-20 football team ended their first preparatory match against China in a 1-1 draw in Dubai on Monday night. Salah al Jadidi scored for Oman in the 50th minute before the opponents equalised in the 77th minute.

Oman head coach David Gordo started the match with a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Mazin Saleh was the goalkeeper while Musab al Shamsi was the left back in defence accompanied by Ayman al Nabhani, Abdullah al Afifi and Salim al Abdali. The centre line was monitored by Ahed al Mushekhi, Abdulmajeed al Balushi, Al Moutasim Ghanim and Mohammed AbdulHakeem. The attacking side featured Ali al Balushi and Qusai al Mamari.

The friendly game against China was crucial for the coaching staff to stand on the team’s readiness ahead of the Asian Cup start. Oman team players reported back to their daily training sessions after the warm-up match completion.

The match was part for both teams to gear up for the forthcoming edition of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan which is scheduled to take place in Tashkent from March 1 to 18. Oman are grouped in Group C in the Asian Cup with South Korea, Tajikistan and Jordan while China will play against Saudi Arabia, Japan and Kyrgyzstan.

Oman team began their actual warm-up for the Asian assignment in January through a domestic camp in Muscat from January 12. Before that the team was in another 10-day camp in Muscat as well.

The previous domestic camp of the national team featured two strong friendly matches against the Iran team. The hosts lost the opening preparatory match 1-0 and Iran prevailed in the next match 2-1 at Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. Both matches showed different technical readings for the coaching staff on the player’s performance and fitness ahead of finalising the squad.

The hosts of Asian U-20 Cup Uzbekistan will vie for the title with Indonesia, Iraq and Syria in Group A while Qatar will play against Australia, Vietnam and Iran in Group B. The top four teams in the Asian finals will confirm their presence in the Fifa U-20 World Cup 2023, which will return to Asia in Indonesia from May 20 to June 11.

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