Oman’s lack of an efficient strike force was exposed on Saturday when the Red Warriors were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly-ranked Philippines in an international football friendly, played at the Al Gharafa Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Pim Verbeek’s men, who are currently camping in Doha to prepare for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in January, took an early lead against the 114th-ranked opposition when midfielder Raed Ibrahim scored in the ninth minute of the match.
However, Oman failed to keep the lead safe as Javier Patiño’s header in the 38th minute off a Manny Ott free-kick from the left flank was deflected by Oman’s Khalid al Hajri into the goal.
It was the first match between the Philippines and Oman since World Cup qualifiers in May 2001. Oman had won both the matches 2-0 and 7-0.
Ranked 85th in the latest FIFA ranking, Oman, failed to do justice to its higher ranking as the match ended in a stalemate with the Red Warriors’ strikers struggling to break a stubborn Filipino defence.
While the Philippines is preparing for the AFF Championship next month, Verbeek will be hoping to find a solution to his attacking options when it takes on much higher-ranked Ecuador (FIFA ranking 58) in another friendly in Doha on Tuesday.
The first goal came off an Omani corner. Filipino goalkeeper Neil Etheridge’s clearance only went as far as midfielder Raed Ibrahim, who shot past the Cardiff City goalkeeper to hand his side the lead.
The Omanis continued to attack and forced the Cardiff City keeper make three crucial saves in the first half.
In the 38th minute, Khalid al Hajri’s own goal equalised the score as he accidently put in a Manny Ott free-kick from the left flank past Oman goalkeeper Ali al Habsi.
In the second half, Philippines’ Michael Faalkesgaard came in for veteran keeper Etherdige and was kept busy by Omani strikers, who despite repeated forays failed to get the winner.
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