The nations will go head-to-head on Saturday
Day two of the ANOC World Beach Games Asian Qualifier has come to a close, after a spectacular day of fixtures…
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Al Yaqdhan shines, as Oman cruise past Thailand to secure fifth place
Abdullah opened the scoring for Oman in the first period, with his second goal of the tournament.
Oman then scored their second and third of the match in the second period, as Al Yaqdhan scored his first of the evening and Ahmed made it 3-0.
Al Yaqdhan came alive in the third period as he scored another three goals in two minutes, as Thailand pulled back two goals courtesy of Suriya and Faisol. Sami then put the final nail in the coffin, as he netted his first goal of the tournament and sealed a fifth place finish for Oman.
Iran come from behind to book their place in Bali
Day two of the tournament also saw the two 2023 AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup finalists clash in a semi-final in Jeddah for a place in the AWBC Asian Qualifier final and seal qualification for the 2023 AWBG.
Japan struck first in this tie, as Oba put them 1-0 up in under two minutes of the first period, but Iran were extremely resilient as Mokhtari made the scores level one minute later.
However, there was one more goal left in the first period, as the ball was launched forward from Japan goalkeeper, Kawai, which was superbly controlled by the 2023 AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup top scorer, Akaguma, as he swiveled and slammed the ball home into the bottom left corner to send Japan ahead once again. A few moments of madness from Abbass and Shir, led to two yellow cards for Iran before the period came to its conclusion.
Iran bounced back fiercely in the second period and it was the captain, Moslem, who began the comeback for Ali Naderi’s side as he made the score 2-2 after just 20 seconds, and they took the lead for the first time in the match soon after, as Moradi hit the back of the net for the second time in this competition, as the score became 2-3.
Going into the final period, Japan had it all to play for as a defeat would send them out of the competition, and just when they needed him, Akaguma did what he does best and fired the ball home once again, but the Iran skipper led by example for the second time, as he scored the decisive goal to secure his nation’s place in the final and AWBG qualification.
The Iranians were overjoyed after the game, as after demonstrating unity and togetherness throughout the match, they reaped the rewards by defeating a strong Japanese side.
United Arab Emirates knock out the hosts in Jeddah
After the previous enthralling semi-final match, it seemed a very difficult task for hosts, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to play out a match with a similar level of intensity, but it definitely provided.
Saudi Arabia were left stunned, as United Arab Emirates flew out the blocks in the first period after scoring two goals in quick succession. Beshr capitalised on a goalkeeping error from Alajmi and Abbass fired in his second goal of the AWBG Asian Qualifier. However, Alhamami was on the mark, as he blasted a venomous strike from close range into the centre of the opponent’s net to get the hosts back into the game quickly, but with around 90 seconds left on the clock, Rashed regained the UAE’s two goal advantage heading into the break.
The sound of the Saudi Arabian fans echoed around the stadium following the first period, drilling hope into their players, as Majed scored two goals without a response making the score 3-3. United Arab Emirates didn’t back down despite the onslaught they received in the second period, as Ali netted their fourth of the game to restore their lead, and it could’ve got worse for the hosts, as Faisal blocked a ferocious shot off the line at the end of the period.
Despite his side being ahead, assistant coach, Victor Vasques seemed very frustrated with the second period display from his players before the third and final period took place and to his dismay, Khalid scored the fourth for Saudi Arabia to level up the score, as extra time beckoned.
In extra time, both sides were looking for that crucial fifth goal, but it was Ali who made the difference for United Arab Emirates, hitting a thunderous right footed effort into the top left corner, sending his side to the ANOC World Beach Games.
On Saturday, Iran will face United Arab Emirates in the AWBG Asian Qualifier final and the third and fourth places will be decided, as Japan clash with Saudi Arabia.
You can watch the remainder of this year’s AWBG Asian Qualifier matches here with us, live on BeachSoccerTV.
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RESULTS – 26th May
Oman 7-2 Thailand
Japan 3-4 Iran
Saudi Arabia 4-5 United Arab Emirates
FIXTURES – 27th May
Japan vs Saudi Arabia
Iran vs United Arab Emirates