Singapore end Asian Cup qualifying with Oman defeat

Singapore’s 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign in Group A came to an end on Wednesday with a 3-1 defeat to Oman at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex.

Showing plenty of initiative from the first whistle, Oman came close on several occasions in the opening exchanges with Amad Al-Hosni and Qasim Said missing good chances.

But in the 19th minute the deadlock was duly broken after Lions centre-back Safuwan Baharudin failed to cut out a searching ball from Eid Al-Farsi, allowing Al-Hosni to fire home emphatically on the rebound after his initial effort had drawn a fine save from Hassan Sunny.

The woodwork then denied Oman from adding to their tally as Al Farsi saw a low drive from an acute angle come back off the post, before Al-Hosni sent a spectacular bicycle kick smashing into the bar shortly after the half-hour mark.

Al-Hosni then had an excellent chance to grab his second just before halftime when a left-wing cross fell to him two yards out from goal, only for his shot to be kept out by a fantastic point-blank range stop from Hassan.

Nonetheless, Oman finally managed to double their advantage six minutes into the second half after Raed Ibrahim cut the ball back to Qasim, who eased past Zulfahmi Arifin before firing in a shot that deflected off Afiq Yunos’ foot and into the back of the net.

Nine minutes after the hour mark, the contest was all but over when substitute Sami Al-Hasani added a third; coolly sidefooting into the bottom corner from close range after Qasim had played a perfect ball across the face of goal.

To their credit, the visitors refused to give up in their search for a goal and they managed to grab a consolation in the 78th minute when captain Shahril Ishak raced onto Zulfahmi’s glorious through-ball, before sliding his shot through the legs of Ali Al-Habsi.

Oman: Ali Al Habsi, Saad Al-Mukhaini, Mohammed Al-Sheiba, Jaber Al-Owaisi, Ali Al-Busaidi, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Ahmed Mubarak, Eid Al-Farsi (Ali Al-Jabri 86′), Fahad Khamis Rashid (Sami Al-Hasani 61′), Qasim Said (Juma Darwish 71′), Amad Al-Hosni.

Singapore: Hassan Sunny, Juma’at Jantan, Safuwan Baharudin, Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hariss Harun, Zulfahmi Arifin, Faris Ramli, Shahril Ishak (Gabriel Quak 83’), Hafiz Abu Sujad (Ismail Yunos 55’), Shahfiq Ghani (M. Anumanthan 74’).

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