Singapore were left heartbroken after Oman defeated them in penalty shootouts to lift the inaugural Airmarine Cup 2019 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
Nazri Nasir’s Singapore had fought bravely and had found a way back into the game with virtually the last kick of the game as Zulfahmi Arifin’s stunning free kick in the third minute of second half injury time cancelled out an early strike from Oman’s Aziz Al Maqbali.
— OFA – Official Page (@OmanFA) March 23, 2019
However, Faris Ramli’s spot kick in the tie breakers hit the crossbar as Oman converted all five of their penalties to emerge as the winners of the first edition of the Airmarine Cup organised by the Football Association of Malaysia.
Oma, 75 places above their Southeast Asian opposition in the FIFA World Rankings, controlled the game from the start and deservedly went ahead in the 28th minute through their 29-year-old striker who headed in a cross from Raed Ibrahim Saleh with the Lions defence sleeping.
Though they had a penalty turned down in the first half for a handball by Oman player, Singapore could count themselves lucky to not go further behind — much credit to their goalkeeper Zaiful Nizam. However, they looked a much better unit in the second half against Erwin Koeman’s side.
AIRMARINE Cup 2019 | 20-23 March 2019
3rd Place: MALAYSIA
4th Place: AFGHANISTAN
— FA Malaysia (@FAM_Malaysia) March 23, 2019
But they had to wait till the death for the equaliser as Khairul Nizam was brought down outside the box by Omani defence. Zulfahmi took the free kick and curled it into the back of the goal brilliantly to earn the draw. There was barely any time for the restart as referee blew the whistle signalling shootout.
With the result that would count as a draw in the record books, Singapore managed to end a run of eight successive defeats to Oman. However, they will be a little disappointed not to return home without the trophy after having come so close to winning it in Kuala Lumpur.
(Photo Credit: Football Association of Malaysia)