MUSCAT: Oman's national beach soccer team started their campaign in the 2023 AFC Beach Soccer Cup with a resounding 7-0 victory over Kyrgyzstan on Friday at Jamtem Arena in Pattaya, Thailand. With the victory, Oman now lead Group D and is well-positioned to advance to the semifinals and a chance to earn a spot in the UAE for the Beach Soccer World Cup in 2023.
Oman dominated the game in the first half, but they were unable to score, while Kyrgyzstan held strong in their defensive areas and controlled the game's outlets effectively.
However, a strong kick from Sami al Balushi in the 15th minute of the second half broke the deadlock and set Oman on their path to victory. Then, Oman's players made several attempts but Aman Aslebkov Kyrgyzstan’s goalkeeper prevented them from scoring the second goal.
Kyrgyzstan attempted to score in the third half, but Oman's goalkeeper Younis al Owaisi extended his team's lead with a powerful shot that nestled into the left corner of the goalpost in the 28th minute.
Yahya al Muraiki then scored two consecutive goals in the 29th and 30th minutes, taking advantage of a direct free kick and a rebound respectively.
With the Kyrgyzstan team's morale in shambles, Oman seized the opportunity to score two long-range goals through Sami al Balushi in the 33rd minute and Khaled al Araimi in the 35th minute. Then Al Yaqdhan al Hendasi concluded Oman's series of goals with the seventh goal in the 36th minute.
The next round of group competitions will be held on Sunday, March 19, where Kyrgyzstan will meet Palestine, and Kuwait will meet Oman. The first two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the quarterfinals, with matches to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, March 22 and 23. The final match will be held on Sunday, March 26.
During the post-match press conference, Oman head coach Talib Hilal appreciated the players for the good performance and the great result in the first match." I am completely satisfied with the result. We managed to get our ranks in the second half."
He added: "I was aware that after scoring the first goal, the opponent's goal would open for more goals. And this is what happened. We will deal with a special tactic in every match we play, and the next match is not easy, despite our good knowledge of the Kuwaiti national team, but it has young elements."