Oman beat Somalia to 2021 Fifa Arab Cup ticket

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Fifa website

Oman have qualified for the 2021 Fifa Arab Cup at the expense of African side Somalia.

The Reds scaled through after defeating a resolute Ocean Stars 2-1 at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Sunday.

The Omanis were heavy favourites heading into the encounter as they were facing a side 117 places below them in the Fifa rankings, and they justified that status with an impressive first-half performance.

Mohsen Al Ghasani went close to handing them an early lead, however, his shot ricocheted off the crossbar.

In the 11th minute, he found the breakthrough after placing the ball into an empty net after goalkeeper Mustaf Yuusuf parried Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali’s long-range shot into his path.

The Asian team doubled their advantage in the 35th minute as the referee pointed to the penalty mark after Al Ghasani was tripped in the box by Yussuf.

Salaah Al-Yahyaei took the ensuing kick and expertly converted by sending the Somalian goalkeeper in the wrong direction.

The African side came out stronger in the second half and they pulled one goal back courtesy of Abel Gigli.

The defender headed past goalkeeper Faiz Al-Rushaidi thanks after an accurate, inswinging cross from Mohammed Awad.

Oman could have increased their lead, but Al Ghasani’s header kissed the crossbar for the second time in the encounter.

In the 90th minute, substitute Anwar Shakunda missed a sitter that could have been a turning point for Somalia.

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Profiting from a long cross from Zayd Farah, the Elman Sports Club striker failed to put the ball inside the net as goalkeeper Al-Rushaidi was alert to save his shot.

The African team’s qualification hopes had suffered a massive setback following the sack of Abdellatif Salef after less than three weeks in charge.

He has been shown the way out by the Somali Football Federation who labelled him as 'incompetent' – with the football body appointing coach Salad Farah on a temporary basis.

The Fifa Arab Cup is set to act as a preparatory competition to test the operational readiness of Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup which will be held in the Middle East nation.