Following Oman’s 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan that sent them through to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup 2019, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.
Captain Ahmed Al-Mahaijri scored with a brilliant free-kick in the 20th minute, before Annadurdyyev equalized for Turkmenistan just before the break. Al-Ghassani sealed a win for the Omanis in the 83rd minute before Al-Musallami scored his first international goal in 5 years to confirm Oman’s place in the knockouts of the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
1) A tournament of free-kicks
Having already seen several teams score with some splendid free-kicks, the Omanis gave us another one to cheer about. Vietnam star Nguyen Quang Hai scored a magnificent goal from a set piece yesterday and Oman captain Al-Mahaijri wasn’t about to be left behind, doing one better by curling a splendid effort past the Turkmenistan keeper and into the net to put his side one goal up in the 20th minute.
2) Turkmenistan equalise to go level into the break
Despite giving away the better of the chances to their opponents, Turkmenistan made amends and restored parity in the 40th minute. Receiving the ball in the box, Annadurdyyev made no mistake, scoring with an improvised outer foot finish – his strike finding it’s way into the net by virtue of it’s sheer power despite the keeper getting a hand to it, sending both teams into half-time with the score level.
3) Controversy strikes as Oman have goal disallowed after restart
55′ What happened here?!
— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) January 17, 2019
One of the biggest talking points of the game came immediately after the restart, Oman had a goal disallowed amid calls for a handball. Turkmenistan’s keeper almost fumbled an Oman attempt on goal before palming it with his hand, apparently from inside the goal – amid shades of a handball, all of which was denied by the referee who called for the players to get on with the game.
4) Al-Ghassani winner breaks Turkmenistan hearts
Piling on wave after wave of pressure following the restart, Oman flooded forward in search of the winner. Not content with a draw – knowing that it would do either side no good, the Omanis shed the little semblance of atttacking inhibition that they had in the first half and attacked their opponents at will – finally getting the reward that they so craved in the 83rd minute when Al-Ghassani was set up for his second goal of the tournament by captain Al-Mahaijri to put Oman in front and break the hearts of the brave Turkmen who had defended so valiantly.
5) Oman in the knockouts for the first time as Al-Musallami scores after 5 years
While a 2-1 win might have been enough for the Omanis, they would’ve had to endure a nervous wait until the final fixtures to confirm their place in the knockouts. Full-back Al-Musallami had other plans, however, rising high to meet what was the final corner as well as the final play of the game and head his side home into the knockouts of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. It was all delight for Oman at the final whistle, having made it to the knockouts of the Asian Cup for the first time in their history, that too by virtue of a player scoring his first international goal in 5 years.