Roar of triumph
October 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
ECSTATIC: Ahmed ‘Kanu’ Mubarak, left, who scored the first goal, is all excited after the referee blew the final whistle, as the other Oman players join him in celebrations. Pic: AFP

Muscat: Excitement was at its best as Oman jumped backed into reckoning beating Jordan 2-1 in the 2014 World Cup Asian qualifier in front of packed audience at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Bausher yesterday.

The hosts completely dominated the crucial match against Jordan, who had defeated, Australia in their previous qualifier to leave the race to reach the finals in Brazil wide open.

With the score nil-nil after half time, Ahmed 'Kanu' Mubarak had put Oman ahead in the 62nd minute before Juma Darwish took advantage of the Jordanian defensive lapse to fire home and double the lead in the 87th minute.

Oman, however, were made to sweat when Thaer Bawab halved the deficit by scoring the first goal in the final minute before skipper Amer Deeb made an effort in stoppage time but the goal was ruled out for offside to deny Jordan a dramatic comeback.

With the win, the Paul Le Guen coached side move into third position with five points from four matches, second behind Australia who beat Iraq in Doha yesterday.

Oman skipper Ali Al Habsi who had a brilliant time in the field, lapped the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex as his teammates kept the celebrations going long after the end of the game.

"It was a fantastic match and everyone contributed today. It was a complete team effort from all of us," said a delighted Al Habsi speaking to Times Sport soon after the victory. "Thank you everyone for all the support. This is a great moment for Oman.

Now we are back in the race," said the tall-Wigan Athletic goalkeeper.

As the players lapped up the worship of the 26,500 fans, who had filled the stadium hours before kickoff, French coach Paul Le Guen insisted that the audience played a major role in helping the team win.

"To create a joy like this is something special. It doesn't happen every time. I must credit the boys for making it happen.

"They have put their hearts and soul onto the match. Of course I was taken aback when I stepped inside the stadium. The Red Wave (the fans) was simply ecstatic," he said.

The match also witnessed some tense moments when three Jordanian players were shown yellow card during the course of the match.
When Jordan's Ansa Bani Yasin and Mohammed Dameeri and Sulaiman Salman received yellow cards for physical tackles against the Omani players, Saeed Marjan received the card for arguing with the referee.

A furious Jordan coach Adnan Hamad blamed the referee for the loss. "There is no doubt that Oman played better football than us but there were some grave mistakes from the referee," he said after the match.

When asked if the matter would be reported to AFC, Hamad said he would discuss it with the Jordanian Football Federation. "We will see the video and it is up to the Federation to decide after that," he added.

The first half saw Jordan tear out of the blocks as Oman soaked up the pressure. Fouzi Bashir fired a free kick from 25 yards over the crossbar in the 15th minute and star wonder-striker Imad Al Hosni was presented with an opportunity in the Jordanian box five minutes later.

As Imad was called-back to the pavilion in the 81st minute, there was a standing ovation from the packed audience for the man who led the Omani attack from the start.

"I think he is one player who can really light-up the whole team," said Le Guen heaping praise on Imad.

With Oman playing next the mighty Japan, who are leading with 10 points, in Muscat next month, Le Guen expects the crowd to comeback with the same passion.

"People in Oman have to be proud of the team. I would like to thank the fans for the support they shown us during the match.

"We have a tough match against Japan next month and I would request them to comeback with the same passion," he added.

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