Football friendly: Qatar fight back to hold Oman 2-2

Muscat: Oman dominated the regional rivals and  Gulf Cup champions Qatar in a friendly match before settling for a 2-2 in Canberra on Wednesday.

The teams played the match as part of their preparations for the AFC Asian Cup which kicks off in Australia on January 9.

Oman are also scheduled to play another friendly against China on January 5 before they start their Asian Cup campaign against South Korea on January 10.

In Wednesday’s friendly, Paul Le Guen’s Oman went into the attack from the word go and opened their account as early as the ninth minute through a fine goal from star striker Abdulaziz Al Maqbali.

Central defender Jaber Al Owaisi doubled the lead in the 24th minute. The score remained the same till the end of the first half.

But Qatar fought back after resumption and scored two goals in quick succession. Both the goals were scored by Adbullah M in the 50th and 52nd minutes respectively.

Meanwhile in another friendly match played on Tuesday, Bahrain routed 2014 Gulf Cup hosts and finalists Saudi Arabia 4-1.

According to information posted on the Asian Football Confederation website, a brace from striker Ismail Abdul Latif at Geelong’s Simmonds Stadium helped restore some much need confidence in the Bahrain camp following a disappointing Gulf Cup in November.

Fouzi Aaish opened Bahrain’s account with a 20th minute penalty after Green Falcons captain Hassan Fallatah had brought down Abdul Latif in the box.

Sami Al Hussaini extended Bahrain’s lead six minutes later, before Naif Hazazi put Saudi Arabia back in contention with a strike from close range shortly after half-time.

The Saudi Arabian resurgence was, however, to be short- lived, Abdul Latif duly converting a penalty on 58 minutes and then notching his second with ten minutes of the game remaining.

Bahrain will finalise their Asian Cup preparations when they take on Jordan in Ballarat on January 4 ahead of their opening Group C clash with Iran a week later.

On the same day, Saudi Arabia take on continental heavyweights Korea Republic in Sydney in a final game before their tournament begins with a Group B fixture against China on January 10.

In another match, the UAE enjoyed a morale boosting 1-0 win over Jordan on Tuesday.

In a tightly contested affair, UAE star Ahmed Khalil had his first half penalty expertly saved by goalkeeper Amer Shafi, before Haboush Saleh stepped up in the 91st minute to rifle home a shot after the Jordanians had failed to clear a corner.

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