x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Mubarak sends Oman fans wild

Oman reach the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup with another scintillating display at a packed Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Boushar

Oman's players celebrates after Basheer's controversial goal made it 2-0 against Bahrain last night and secured their passage to the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup.
Oman's players celebrates after Basheer's controversial goal made it 2-0 against Bahrain last night and secured their passage to the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup.

MUSCAT // Oman reached the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup with another scintillating display at a packed Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Boushar last night. The hosts, losing finalists in the last two tournaments, finished top of Group A thanks to a goal in each half from Bader Mubarak and Fawzi Basheer. Bahrain, however, are on their way home.

Hassan Rabea, who scored a hat-trick on Wednesday night against Iraq, could have added to Bahrain's misery 10 minutes from time, but after beating the offside trap, saw his shot from close range pushed out by Alsayyed Mohammed Jaffar. Mubarak put Oman in front in the 14th minute from a free kick and then set up Basheer for the second in the 70th minute to put the game out of Bahrain's reach. Bahrain ended the game on a sour note when two players went sent off in the closing seconds. First Mohammed Hussain was dismissed for a nasty tackle on Mubarak and then Said Mahmood Jalal followed him back into the dressing room.

Milan Macala, who left Oman after leading them to the final two years ago, was jeered by the celebrating home fans as his team were comprehensively beaten. Oman set the platform for this victory after a dominating first quarter. Mubarak had a golden opportunity to draw first blood after nine minutes, but his first shot ricocheted of the goalkeeper Jaffar's legs and his second attempt from the loose ball was smothered by Mohammed Ahmed Salmeen.

However, the forward, who plays for Qatari club Al Rayyan, made no mistake from a free kick from outside the edge box five minutes later. He curled the shot into the top corner of the net to send 26,000 fans packed into the stadium wild. Oman controlled the game by keeping possession and territorial advantage, leaving Bahrain struggling. Macala's men looked jaded and bereft of ideas, even when Oman took their foot off the gas to settle into a more relaxed mood in the second quarter.

Claude Le Roy's men needed only a draw to advance to the second round and, after taking the lead, they settled to defend what they had after the break, which they did comfortably. @Email:apasslea@thenational.ae