Muscat: Unable to focus on the game when it mattered most, Oman wasted a one goal advantage and settled for a 1-1 draw against Bahrain in a crucial Group A match of the ongoing AFC U-19 Championship qualifiers in Kyrgyzstan capital city of Bishkek on Monday.
The result left Rasheed Jaber-coached Omanis, with four points from three games, in the fourth place in the five-team group. Though they are expected to win their final group game against winless Nepal on Wednesday, Oman’s chances of advancing to the AFC U-19 Championship as one of the five best second-placed teams will depend on the outcome of the match between Bahrain and the UAE.
The UAE currently lead the table with nine points from three games while hosts Kyrgyzstan are in second with six points after having completed their group engagements. Bahrain with four points but on better goal average than Oman are in the third place.
According to news posted on the AFC website, coach Rasheed Jaber was obviously disappointed with the result.
“I have really nothing to say! We were supposed to win this match very easily because we had many chances. However, we only scored once,” he said.
“Bahrain depended on counter-attacks as they thought we are going to leave gaps. We did not do that. They had two or three chances to score in the second half. In the additional five minutes, we gave them a chance to score because of lack of concentration and discipline. I am not happy with the result of this match”, he added.
Bahrain rescued a point thanks to a stoppage time strike by Mohamed Waleed Althawadi.
The first half saw a 0-0 scoreline with neither team able to break the deadlock, while the second period almost mirrored the first.
However, in the 82nd minute, Mohammed Obaid Al Qaidi found a way past Bahrain goalkeeper Ammar Mohamed Abbas Jaafar Ahmed to give them a 1-0 lead as Oman was closing in on victory.
Mohamed Waleed Al Thawadi spoiled Oman’s party with a strike deep into added-on time to earn them a point.
Earlier, the UAE reached the top of the group after beating Kyrgyzstan 4-1.
Khaled Al Blooshi gave UAE the lead after seven minutes through a counter attacking move with Ahmad Fawzi providing the assist.
In another slick counter-attacking move Al Blooshi doubled UAE’s lead after evading defenders to score in the 25th minute.
The hosts, however, pulled one back three minutes from half-time. Dastan Karypbekov’s strike from 30 metres flew past the UAE goalkeeper Salem Khairi Muftah to put the score at 2-1.
The hosts started the second half with intent as they drove with purpose up the field.
But they could not find a breakthrough past UAE’s stout defence, who absorbed 20 minutes of pressure before biting back.
UAE scored their third and fourth goals in quick succession through Khalfan Hassan Al Hamadi in the 67th minute and Rashed Mubarak a minute later to win 4-1.