Talib Hi­lal’s men hold off Nigeria 6-5 in an ex­cit­ing Group D game to se­cure three cru­cial points

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE - @ashok­mus­cat Ashok Puro­hit

It has been four years and 133 days since Oman recorded its first-ever vic­tory at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Espinho, Por­tu­gal when it had out­played Costa Rica 7-2.

On Sun­day, Talib Hi­lal­coached side, mak­ing its third ap­pear­ance in the global show­piece event, cel­e­brated its se­cond-ever tri­umph in a thrilling 6-5 win over Nigeria at Los Py­nandi Sta­dium in the Paraguayan cap­i­tal of Asun­cion.

Oman's vic­tory in a close­ly­fought en­counter kept its hopes alive to ad­vance from Group D with its next game against fan­cied Por­tu­gal on Tues­day night.

Oman jumped into a two-goal lead thanks to Eid al Farsi’s left-footed, curl­ing pile-driver into the far cor­ner from dis­tance and ex­pe­ri­enced Jalal al Si­nani’s im­pres­sive scis­sor kick.

Si­nani, 33, is one of the sul­tanate stars, who has ap­peared in Oman’s pre­vi­ous two edi­tions of the FIFA World Cup and has to his credit the coun­try’s first World Cup goal against Ar­gentina dur­ing the 2011 Ravenna World Cup in Italy.

Nigeria fought back after trail­ing 0-2 as Emeka Og­bonna struck a brace to bring the Su­per Sand Ea­gles level early in the se­cond pe­riod.

How­ever, Oman just had too much fire­power for the African run­ner-up as Mushel al Araimi, Farsi and Sami al Balushi were on tar­get in a span of five min­utes to put it 5-2 up at the end of the se­cond pe­riod.

Og­bonna added another to com­plete his hat-trick be­fore

Adams Taiwo scored with a drive into the bot­tom cor­ner to bring Nigeria back within one.

Oman cap­tain Khalid al Oraimi found a cru­cial goal in the

28th minute to build a two-goal cush­ion but God­spower Igu­dia fin­ished off a well-worked team move to nar­row the mar­gin three min­utes later.

Oman then held on to fin­ish the game for its se­cond-ever win at the global stage with three cru­cial points on the board.

It was the se­cond loss for

Nigeria, which elim­i­nates its chances from ad­vanc­ing to the next stage.

In his ex­clu­sive re­marks to Mus­cat Daily from Asun­cion, a

de­lighted Talib said, “It is a good win for us after the loss against cham­pion Brazil in the opener.

“With the three points, we now have a chance to qual­ify into the next round. The vic­tory has raised the morale and spir­its of my boys, who displayed great nerves and char­ac­ter to edge Nigeria.”

Talib, who has been with the soccer team since 2008 when Oman won the Asian Beach Games ti­tle, is aware of the tough chal­lenge it faces in the group's fi­nal match against for­mer World Cup win­ner Por­tu­gal.

It was against Por­tu­gal that Oman had suf­fered one of its big­gest de­feats when it lost 3-8 dur­ing the 2011 World Cup in Ravenna.

Talib said, “We are ready to face Por­tu­gal, which is a strong side. It is a dif­fi­cult match as they are a very ex­pe­ri­enced team. But my boys will give their best and

Talib Hi­lal

we hope for a pos­i­tive re­sult.”

Por­tu­gal boasts of play­ers like Mad­jer, 42, con­sid­ered to be a liv­ing beach soccer le­gend, who is com­pe­ti­tion's all-time lead­ing scorer with 88 goals.

Also in Group D, after de­feat­ing Por­tu­gal 9-7 in one of the group stage’s most high­lyan­tic­i­pated en­coun­ters, Brazil be­came the third team to qual­ify for the quar­ter­fi­nals.

Other re­sults: Group C: UAE 4 Rus­sia 1, Sene­gal 7 Be­larus 2.

“We are ready to face Por­tu­gal, which is a strong side. It is a dif­fi­cult match as they are a very ex­pe­ri­enced team”


Oman’s Sharif al Balushi in ac­tion dur­ing the Group D match against Nigeria at the 2019 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Asun­cion, Paraguay, on Sun­day

Oman coach Talib Hi­lal (se­cond from left, stand­ing) speaks to his play­ers dur­ing the break against Nigeria

Oman goal­keeper You­nis al Owaisi cel­e­brates the team’s vic­tory

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