Muscat: Oman scored five unanswered goals to humble Mali and book their place in the semifinals of the second CISM World Cup Football Championship on Tuesday.
In a one-sided quarterfinal match played at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex, Mohammed Taqi scored a brace as Oman overpowered their West African opponents for a 5-0 victory, making clear their intentions to go all the way and lift the trophy in the 16-team military football championship.
Mohsin Jowhar, Saad Suhail and Juma Darwish were also on target for Oman.
In the semifinals to be played on Thursday, Mohanna Said-coached Omanis will play their winners of the quarterfinal between Algeria and Egypt.
The hosts were joined in the last four by Qatar, who outlasted Bahrain 4-2 via penalties in another quarterfinal played at the Seeb Sports Stadium.
The hosts were encouraged by a large number of local supporters who turned up at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex despite cold weather. But Mohanna Said’s boys turned on the heat right from the kick off, playing aggressive football against the outclassed Mali.
And it took Oman just five minutes to find the target when Mohsin Jowhar netted the ball off a corner kick.
The Mali team tried to come back into the game with their own attacks and though a few times they also managed to pose a threat, the Omani defence and custodian Fayeez Al Rashidi stood up to the challenge.
On the other side, Oman continued with their incisive attacks and in the 16th minute, Jameel Al Yahmadi sent in a fine cross to unmarked Mohammed Taqi. Though the latter failed to fire the ball into the goal, Saad Suhail who was lurking nearby beat the rival goalkeeper with a powerful left-footed shot.
Oman further increased the lead in the 35th minute with Saud Al Farsi doing all the spade work before passing the ball to Saad Suhail, after coming face to face with Mali goalkeeper laid the ball in the path of Mohammed Taqi. All Mohammed Taqi needed to do was to tap the ball into the empty net and he did it with confidence for his first and team’s third goal.
After resumption, Oman team continued to dominate and exerted tremendous pressure on the rival goal. But the hosts wasted a handful of scoring opportunities.
In the 86th minute, however, Juma Darwish scored the fourth goal before Mohammed Taqi completed Oman’s tally with his second strike.
While both the semifinals will be played on Thursday, the championship concludes on January 28.
Meanwhile, the tournament organising committee revealed that two commemorative stamps will be issued to mark the hosting of the CISM World Cup in Oman.
The stamps, to be issued by Oman Post Company, depict championships mascot and logo as well as the winners' trophy.