Muscat: Oman bowed out of AFC U-23 Championship after losing their final Group A match to Uzbekistan by a solitary in China on Monday.
An own goal by Oman’s Thani Al Rushaidi enabled Uzbekistan record a win and advance to the quarterfinals while the Sultanate’s squad suffered their third successive defeat in four-team group.
According to news posted on the AFC website, in the match played the Jiangyin Sports Center Stadium, Oman made six changes to their starting line-up from their previous match and initially looked confident playing around the tight spaces, with Al Mandhar Al Alawi and Marwan Awlad Wadi doing a great job in keeping the Uzbek backline nervous with their quick passes.
Eleven minutes in, Al Alawi surged down the middle but his shot was well blocked by defender Obbosjon Otakhonov.
Uzbekistan retaliated with a close attempt seven minutes later, when Azizjon Ganiev’s corner-kick found Zabikhillo Urinboev in the penalty area, but with a difficult angle his header missed to the right.
In the 36th minute, a series of passes around the box led to Rustamjon Ashurmatov letting fly a left footed shot which was saved by keeper Ibrahim Al Mukhaini but moments later, an own goal was conceded by Al Rushaidi when Oman failed to clear the ball from the box.
After the restart, Uzbekistan returned more confidently but after several early attempts, opted to play at a slower pace as they held on for the three points.
A disappointed Oman coach Hamad Al Azzani said: “I’m sorry about the result, we’re out of the tournament without any points, but I’m proud of my team. We don’t deserve the losses but this is football.”
“These boys played well and have got a good future. We’ve all gained experience from this tournament, not just for the players but the staff as well.”
As Group A runners-up, Uzbekistan will face the Group B winners in the quarterfinals on Friday.