The two nations will face Saudi Arabia and Japan on Friday
Jeddah hosted a superb first day of ANOC World Beach Games Asian Qualifier action as two great matches took place on the opening day.
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United Arab Emirates complete incredible comeback
A quarter-final encounter between the United Arab Emirates and Oman opened the AWBG Asian Qualifier.
After a cagey first period between the two nations, as both teams eased into the match, Abdullah managed to break the dead-lock with one and half minutes left on the clock, with an acrobatic attempt to send Oman 1-0 up.
With just under three minutes played in the second period, Yahya doubled the lead for his country and Oman looked to be in control going into the final period.
Ahmed Beshr slammed the ball off the crossbar, before an unsuccessful retake at the beginning of the third and final period, as United Arab Emirates desperately attempted to salvage a lifeline to remain in the competition.
However, momentum of the match shifted as Oman goal scorer, Yahya, was left distraught as he was given a second yellow of the match after a mistimed challenge on Oman goalkeeper, Humaid, leaving Oman with one less player.
Shortly after, United Arab Emirates managed to slice Oman’s lead in half, courtesy of Abas, as he timed his side-footed volley to perfection as he fired the ball into the left corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. They then found the all-important equaliser, as a lofted cross took a wicked deflection off Oman player, Mushel, and the ball landed in his own net.
After three gruelling periods for both sides, extra time was next. The comeback was officially complete for United Arab Emirates as they took the lead for the first time in the match as Abbass Ali scored early into the period to book his nation’s spot in the semi-finals against host nation, Saudi Arabia.
The Oman players were devastated after the full time whistle went, but showed incredible levels of sportsmanship as both sides shook hands to bring the first quarter-final to a close.
Iran qualify in style after dominant display against Thailand
Iran took on a young Thailand side in the second quarter-final matchup of the evening in Jeddah, with both sides looking to gain a place in the semi-finals against Japan.
It didn’t take the Iranians long to open the scoring as Akbari appeared at the back post to convert a header from close range. Two more goals were scored by Iran by the end of the first period as Movahed and Mokhtari capitalised on their side’s dominance to make the score 3-0, but it could’ve been much worse for Thailand going into the break if it wasn’t for the great shot stopping ability of Suriya, who made multiple double-saves in the period.
Shir scored the fourth of the evening for Iran at the start of the second period; but was quickly cancelled out as Apiwich smashed a shot home from close range to score Thailand’s first of the game.
Thailand had a big task ahead to come from 4-1 behind in the third period, if they were to replicate a similar comeback to United Arab Emirates; but they started brightly as Tanadon scored after just three minutes had been played in the period, but this joyous moment was shortly lived as a spectacular overhead kick from Akbari nestled in the bottom right corner to make the score 5-2. Following this, goals from Mirshekari and Moradi sealed the deal for Iran, as their place in the semi-finals was booked.
Iran will face Japan on Friday, in a clash of the 2023 AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup finalists. As well as this fixture, Oman will play Thailand to decide who will finish fifth and sixth in the tournament.
You can watch the remainder of this year’s AWBG Asian Qualifier matches here with us, live on BeachSoccerTV.
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RESULTS – 25th May
United Arab Emirates 3-2 Oman
Iran 7-2 Thailand
FIXTURES – 26th May
Oman vs Thailand
Japan vs Iran
Saudi Arabia vs United Arab Emirates