Oman’s Slim Hope Held by Iraq

Oman fizzled out of the 2007 Asian Cup after they played out a tamely scoreless draw with Iraq in Group A’s final match at Thailand’s Supachalasai Stadium on Monday.

Iraq's midfielder Hawar Taher holds off Oman's Yousuf Al-Busaidi

It wasn’t Iraq’s best performance in the competition but the point was enough to ensure that they will take on Viet Nam, who finished second in Group B despite going down 4-1 to Japan earlier on the same day.

Oman, needing to win to have any chance of reaching the last eight, had the first chance of the match when Badar Mubarak sent a through ball towards Ismail Al Ajmi but goalkeeper Noor Sabri safely took possession.

Three minutes later Badar fired a low drive to the keeper’s right but Sabri got down well to save the effort.  

Fawzi Basheer should have opened the scoring soon after being set up by Badar but the midfield dynamo’s close-range angled shot was too tame to trouble stopper Noor. 

Oman pressed forward in the second half looking for the goal that would keep their Asian Cup dream alive but it was the Iraqis who had the first chance 15 minutes after the restart.

Mahdi Karim danced his way past Issam Fayel before flicking a cross to Younis but the Iraq skipper, under pressure from two Omani defenders, headed wide.

The second half was punctuated by numerous free-kicks and from one of these Ahmed Hadid almost gave Oman a 62nd minute lead, but his curling effort was tipped over the bar by keeper Noor.

With ten minutes to go Younis had a chance to break the deadlock but his low strike was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Al Habsi.

Oman came close three minutes from time when substitute Younis Al Mushaifri headed off-target before Imad Ali saw a stoppage-time shot saved by keeper Noor.

Group A

By Hoang Uy

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