Stuttering Oman claim early points as Japan click into gear

The 2015 finalists both picked up contrasting victories in Kuala Terengganu on Monday.

The AFC Beach Soccer Championship group stage kicked into life on Monday as defending champions Oman picked up their first points where there were also wins for Iran, Japan, UAE, and Bahrain.

Holders Oman made a shaky start to their title defence as they were required to come from behind to beat Thailand 3-2.

Komkrit Nanan and Jullawan Pinkaew looked to have condemned Oman to defeat going into the final minutes of their Group B contest but Khalid Khamis’ brace helped seal a dramatic late fightback in a thrilling win.

Earlier, 2015 finalists Japan demonstrated their quality as they opened with a 14-0 win against Qatar in Group C.

Marcelo Mendes’ men have never failed to reach the final of the continental competition and look set to maintain their proud record – easing to victory with the help of six different scorers, among them four-goal Ozu Moreria.

Iran – also former champions – ended Afghanistan’s 100 per cent start to the AFC Beach Soccer Championship with a 6-1 win that moves them top of Group A.

In a tight opening contest, two of the tournament’s early MVP contenders Farid Boulokbash and Raof Qaderi shared a goal each but Iran would go on to dominate the remainder of the contest as Boulokbashi registered his second hat-trick in as many days to help seal the points.

UAE began their 2017 campaign in dominant fashion as they swept aside Iraq. In the first match of the pool, Iraq struggled to contain their experienced opponents as a brace from Kamal Ali helped Mohamed Abbas’ men get off to a smooth start.

There were also positive signs for hosts Malaysia, who turned in their best performance of the AFC Beach Soccer Championship against Bahrain on Monday but fell just short in a 6-5 defeat.

Following a resounding 14-0 loss to Iran, Malaysia found themselves somewhat harshly 5-1 behind midway through the second period on day three. And, while the hosts showed grit to battle back to 5-4 with the help of goals from Zaharim Yusuf, it proved too little in the end as Bahrain collected their second win of the competition.

Monday results

10.00: UAE 6-0 Iraq

11.30: Japan 14-0 Qatar

13.00: Oman 3-2 Thailand

14.30: Bahrain 6-5 Malaysia

16.00: Iran 6-1 Afghanistan

Tuesday fixtures

10.00: Qatar v UAE

11.30: Iraq v Japan

13.00: Thailand v Lebanon

14.30: Bahrain v Afghanistan

16.00: China v Iran

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