2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers: Clinical Oman slams five past Maldives

Action from the match between Oman and Maldives on Tuesday (Ahmed al Saidi/Muscat Daily)

Oman was in dominating form as it trounced Maldives 5-0 to get back its 2019 AFC Asian Cup Group D qualifying campaign on track at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Tuesday.

Oman's Dutch coach Pim Verbeek was keen to silence his critics after the Red Warriors lost 1-2 away to Palestine in June despite the team's massive 14-0 win over Bhutan to open its campaign in March.

It took just five minutes after the kickoff for Qasim Said to open the scoring for the hosts. 

Khalid al Hajri, Salah al Yahyai, Jameel al Yahmadi and Sami al Hasani added further goals in the second half to help Oman move three points clear of the Maldives in second place, with Palestine three points clear at the top of the table following its earlier 2-0 win in Bhutan.

Qasim Said’s corner kick surprised Maldives goalkeeper Mohamed Faisal and the visiting custodian could only help the ball into his own net.

But despite the fast start, Oman was unable to add to its tally in the first half.

Oman finally added a second goal two minutes before the hour mark as Hajri was on hand to slot home from inside the area after at least three Maldives defenders failed to deal with a cross.

And a third goal for the home side arrived ten minutes later as substitute Yahyai fired home from the edge of the penalty area after the Maldives had only partially cleared the danger.

Yahmadi struck the fourth with four minutes remaining after goalkeeper Faisal initially and then defender Shafiu Ahmed failed to clear the danger for the visitors. The hosts wrapped up a clinical victory with two minutes remaining as Hasani was first to react after initially seeing his shot from Saad al Mukhaini’s cross saved by Maldives goalkeeper.

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In Thimphu, Palestine won against Bhutan after second half goals from Yaser Islame and Khaled Salem maintained its 100 per cent record in the final round of the qualifiers.

Other results: Group A: Macau 0 India 2; Group B: Malaysia 1 Hong Kong 1, North Korea 2 Lebanon 2; Group C: Cambodia 1 Vietnam 2, Jordan 4 Afghanistan 1; Group E: Singapore 1

Turkmenistan 1, Bahrain 5 Chinese Taipei 0; Group F: Nepal 1 Tajikistan 2, Philippines 2 Yemen 2.

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