Oman bow out of Beach Soccer World Cup with head held high

Sports Wednesday 21/February/2024 20:19 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman bow out of Beach Soccer World Cup with head held high

Milan: Oman made their exit from the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Dubai, UAE, on Tuesday night but not before putting up a stirring fightback against multiple world champions in the group stage.

If Talib Hilal’s men won the hearts against five-time champions Brazil in their opening Group D match despite the defeat, the loss against two-time world champions and heavyweights Portugal 3-2 was yet another story of so near yet so far.

It was another determined performance by Oman, this time, against Portugal on Tuesday. The loss also ended their campaign at the event with a win against Mexico and defeats against world champions Brazil and Portugal.

Qualifying from a group that comprised the two powerhouses was always going to be an uphill task but Talib Hilal’s players impressed with their grit and determination.

On Tuesday, Portugal struck with just 10 seconds remaining to end Oman’s knockout stage hopes, with Leo Martins’ goal securing the European side a 3-2 win and a place in the quarter-finals.

The win meant Portugal finished on six points with Oman making their Group B exit with three points.

It was a heartbreaking loss for Oman, who had rallied from two goals down to draw level through Abdullah Al Sauti and Khalid Al Oraimi in the third period.

Leo Martins scored a sumptuous back-heel. Jordan bagged a brilliant bicycle kick. When Oman netted twice in the third, however, it took a rare Martins header to snatch the mighty Portugal a place in the last eight.

Martins has remarkably registered 11 combined goals and assists at UAE 2024 Dubai.

A disappointed Al Sauti said: “We controlled the game at times, but we weren’t lucky enough to grab the win. The Portuguese are very good.

The Omani national team did their best at the tournament, all our players gave everything they had. Our spirits are high.”

Oman’s only victory came against Mexico when they won 5-2 on Sunday. Despite falling behind inside 17 seconds to a Yahya Al Muraiki strike, Mexico turned the game around and took the lead through Diego Martinez.

Omanis recovered, though, to score four unanswered goals through Yaqdhan Al Hindasi, Mandhar Al Araimi, Al Muraiki and Khalid Al Oraimi to earn three valuable points.