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Confident Oman face Mali hurdle


By Anuroop Athiparambath — MUSCAT: Jan 23 - After a consistent performance in the group matches, hosts Oman are confident enough to overcome the challenge of Mali when they face each other in the quarterfinals of the CISM World Cup on Tuesday.

“We are ready to meet any team in the knockout stages. The team is well set and all the players are capable of making it to the first eleven,” Oman coach Muhanna Said al Adawi said after a close win against France in their last group match.

Coach Muhanna had experimented with his bench strength against France, which Oman players did commendably well.

Top players like Abdulaziz al Maqbali, who sat out against France, are likely to return for the Mali match, to add more firepower at the frontline.

“We have all options ready with us to meet any challenge the opponents come up with in the quarterfinal,” the confident coach said.

Oman started off with a 5-0 thrashing of Guinea and then drew with Bahrain 1-1 after falling behind by a goal. In the last match, the Sultanate edged France 3-2 and finished as Group A toppers with 7 points.

On the other hand, Mali began with a 1-1 draw with Ireland. Mali thrashed USA 4-0 and settled for a goalless draw with Qatar.  They finished second in Group C with 5 points behind leaders Qatar on 7 points.

At the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Mali will have to bring out their best ever performance in order to beat a confident Oman.

Among the other quarterfinal matches, Algeria and Egypt tie is expected to be cracker as both sides will look to continue their impressive outing in the tournament.

Algeria are the only side which won all their group fixtures in the championship.

Algeria edged Germany 2-1 in the opening match, beat Iran 3-1 and overcame North Korea 2-1 to top Group B with full nine points.

Egypt, who played some exciting matches, qualified after finishing second in Group D with 5 points. The Egyptians, well supported by the expatriate Egypt community, will pose a different challenge to Algeria, who have also got some backing from the fans.

At the Seeb Sports Stadium, it will be a regional tussle as Qatar take on Bahrain. Both the teams have performed well in their groups.

Qatar topped Group C with 7 points, while Bahrain came out second in Group A with 5 points after a creditable draw against the hosts.

Syria, which topped Group D with 7 points, will have a tough opponent in Germany in the last quarterfinal at the Seeb Stadium.

Germany have come back well into the tournament after their opening 2-1 defeat to Algeria. They edged North Korea 1-0 next and drew with Iran in their final match in Group B.

Quarterfinals today

Oman vs Mali

(Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex) 5 pm

Algeria vs Egypt

(Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex) 8.30 pm

Qatar vs Bahrain

(Seeb Sports Stadium) 5 pm

Syria vs Germany

(Seeb Sports Stadium) 8.30 pm

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