MUSCAT: The Oman national football team suffered a 4-0 loss against USA in their international friendly match during the early hours on Wednesday at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.
With the match completion, the Red Warriors ended their external camp which lasted for six days as part of their warm-up programme for the future assignments namely the Preliminary Joint Qualification for the Fifa World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 besides the 2024 AFC Asian Cup which kicks off on January 12, 2024 in Qatar.
The Red Warriors showed a disappointing performance against world No 11 USA as they could not penetrate the rivals defending line and create many scoring attempts during the match. The first half ended with the hosts leading 1-0 and they made it 4-0 in the following half.
Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic began the match with a starting line-up featured from Ibrahim al Mukhaini as goalkeeper while the four-man defending line comprised Khalid al Buraiki, Ahmed al Khamisi, Ahmed al Kaabi and Jameel al Yahmadi. Oman captain Harib al Saadi monitored the midfield accompanied by Abdullah Fawaz, Tamim al Balushi and Zaher al Aghbari. The strikers were Essam al Subhi and Mohsin al Ghassani.
Ivankovic gave chances for several Oman players in the top-class preparatory encounter.
The co-hosts of the Fifa World Cup 2026 started the match strongly as expected by scoring an early goal.
Oman’s new young face Tamim al Balushi, who is playing his second international match, managed to send a strong ball towards USA goalie Ethan Harvath as first actual attempt in the match.
Later on, the opponents pressed hard in the Oman penalty box. After 13 minutes, USA broke the deadlock as they netted the opening goal through Folarin Balogun. The goal encouraged American team to attempt more shot on Oman goal.
On the other hand, USA's defence was solid and they blocked all the ways for the Oman players. Also, Oman’s three lines including defence, midfield and the forward set ups lacked coordination as there were less movements towards the rivals' side.
USA RAISE PRESSURE
In the second half of the encounter, UA coach Gregg Berhal Ter’s men entered the field with better focus as they worked hard to monitor all the areas in the game and close the gaps for Oman.
Later on, Ivankovic did few changes to bring fresh faces in the field as Musab al Mamari and Abdulrahman al Mushferi replaced Abdullah Fawaz and Zaher al Aghbari respectively. Al Nahdha’s goalie Ibrahim al Mukhaini managed to save the team from many goals in the first 30 minutes of the second half. USA’s young player Benja Cremaschi played his first international match against Oman and he showed a top game in his debut friendly fixture.
After few substitutions from USA team, substitute Brenden Aaronson doubled the lead for his team in the 60th minute. Oman’s back side lost their confidence as they made several mistakes as the rival team continued pressure towards Al Mukhaini’s net. The third goal for USA was scored by Recardo Pepi in the 80th minute. Two minutes later, Oman’s defender Khalid al Buraiki scored an own goal when he intercepted a cross from USA's Kevin Pardes to make the result at 4-0.
It is expected that the coaching staff will evaluate the team’s technical performance during this international game. The coaching staff will work to assess the weakness areas and work hard in developing the scoring part besides improving the fitness and physical conditions of the players. The Red Warriors’ preparatory programme will stop temporarily during October as the players will join their respective clubs. The national team will resume their training activities in November as their campaign in the joint qualifiers will begin in the same month.