Abdulaziz al Muqbali’s first-half brace helped Oman overwhelm Afghanistan 3-0 to register their second victory in the 2022 Fifa World Cup and Asian Cup 2023 Joint Qualification Group E second round match at the Seeb Sports Stadium on Thursday.
Oman kept a clean slate after the victory and now have six points from two matches played.
Al Muqbali’s goals came in the 28th and 38th minutes of the game that psychologically killed the contest for the Afghanistan team.
Muhsen al Ghassani converted a penalty in the 60th minute as Oman stamped their dominance in totality. It was a thorough professional performance from Erwin Koeman’s boys.
Veteran goalkeeper and Oman legend Ali al Habsi was on the bench on his comeback as Fayez al Rushaidi started the game for the ‘Red Warriors’ in the goal.
Oman’s superiority was all too evident in the first half against an Afghanistan team focusing on defence.
The likes of Ali al Busaidi, Mohammed al Mussalami and Ahmed Mubarak Kano created flutters in the Afghan defence.
The ‘Red Warriors’ were on top of the game and it was a matter of time before they opened the account.
Abdulaziz al Muqbali, who was hovering around the Afghan defenders, headed in the opening goal in the 28th minute to send the expectant Omani fans into a delirium.
Oman had their tails up after the first goal and it was a barrage of relentless attacks that followed for the Afghans.
That culminated in the second goal with Al Muqbali coming to the fore once again with a crisp header into the Afghanistan goal in the 38th minute.
Oman had the game in control taking half-time with a 2-0 lead that threatened to become bigger in the second half joust.
As the second half began, Afghanistan attempted some manouevres with Najim Haidary and Zubair Amyri working in tandem. However, Oman’s collective experience and steady defence denied the Afghans any inroads.
In the 60th minute, Muhsen al Ghassani converted a penalty to triple Oman’s lead and make it 3-0 for the hosts.
Oman were well and truly on their way to register an emphatic win after the third goal.
Afghanistan made some desperate substitutions as Norlla Amiri was brought in for Mustafa Azadzoy in the 58th minute.
In the 68th minute, Afghanistan coach Anoush Dastgir replaced Adam Najem with Naeem Rahimi.
The substitutions hardly made any impact on the match as Afghanistan were on the receiving end of Oman’s penetrative strikers.
Oman coach Erwin Koeman made the team’s first substitution in the 70th minute when he brought in Mohammed al Ghafri in place of Al Mundhir al Alawi.
The game was headed in only one direction and the result was as one-sided as the scoreline would suggest.
Oman would emerge convincing victors over an Afghanistan team still learning the tricks of the trade against a much superior team.