Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying
Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying
Singapore, under the guidance of new coach Bernd Stange, dominated possession in the first half but offered little in attack with Paul Le Guen's side proving clinical with their few chances.
Qasim Said eased past a static home defense to fire Oman into a 15th-minute lead with his fellow midfielder Eid Al-Farsi blasting a low drilled shot from 22 metres to double the advantage on the stroke of halftime.
The home side wilted in the second half with Oman guilty of wasting several chances to improve their goal difference in the four-team group, also featuring Syria and Jordan, where two sides will qualify for the finals in Australia in 2015.
"I think we did the job, it was vital to win and we did it," Le Guen, who had been concerned before the game that his players would still be feeling the effects of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadam which ended last week, told reporters.
"During the first half we were average, not many chances but efficient.
"I was afraid of the context, the artificial pitch. But we prepared well ... the players accepted to leave Oman before Eid which is not easy for them and I want to thank them for the effort."
Syria host Jordan in Iran on Thursday in the other Group A match in the second round.
The teams are back in Asian Cup qualifying action in October along with the other 16 sides trying to reach the finals in Australia where the hosts, holders Japan and South and North Korea all have places and do not need to qualify.
Suarez scores as Uruguay beats Japan 4-2
In Rifu, Japan, unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored for an impressive Uruguay in their 4-2 friendly win against Japan on Wednesday.
Suarez capitalized on some calamitous defending by the hosts to stroke home Uruguay's third goal seven minutes into the second half. Diego Forlan's two goals, including a fine free-kick, earlier gave the visitors a comfortable halftime lead.
Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa scored a tap-in to pull one back soon after Suarez's effort, but Alvaro Gonzalez restored Uruguay's three-goal advantage following a goalkeeping error by Eiji Kawashima.
Keisuke Honda responded with a free-kick to make it 4-2.
Suarez spent the summer pushing for a move away from Liverpool, but a newspaper in his home country on Wednesday quoted him as having had a change of heart and deciding to stay.
Japan, who lost all three of their Confederations Cup games in Brazil this summer, were back to full strength but remain far from convincing ahead of next year's World Cup finals.
"We haven't learned our lessons (from the Confederations Cup). There is still a lot to work on before the World Cup," Kagawa said.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, praised the strength of the opposition.
"You have to give credit to Uruguay," said Zaccheroni. "They are one of the best teams in the world. They showed that again by reaching the Confederations Cup semifinals this year."
Last gasp Shaqiri goal seals Swiss win over Serbia
- The win puts Switzerland in pole position to make it out of a tough Group E that contains five-times winners Brazil but they were pushed all the way by the Serbs.
- It was a sweet victory for Shaqiri and fellow Swiss goalscorer Granit Xhaka, who along with team-mate Valon Belrami were booed relentlessly by Serbia’s fans throughout. Shaqiri, Xhaka and Belrami trace their roots to Kosovo, a former province of Serbia.
KALININGRAD: A last-minute Xherdan Shaqiri breakaway goal handed Switzerland victory Friday as they came from behind to defeat Serbia 2-1 in Kaliningrad.
The win puts Switzerland in pole position to make it out of a tough Group E that contains five-times winners Brazil but they were pushed all the way by the Serbs.
It was a sweet victory for Shaqiri and fellow Swiss goalscorer Granit Xhaka, who along with team-mate Valon Belrami were booed relentlessly by Serbia’s fans throughout.
Shaqiri, Xhaka and Belrami trace their roots to Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, a fact which had stoked tensions before the match.
Both Shaqiri and Xhaka pointedly celebrated their goals by making an eagle gesture with their hands, viewed as a symbol of defiance.
Serbia raced out of the blocks, funnelling possession to Southampton winger Dusan Tadic on the right flank, who troubled Switzerland with his crossing all match.
An Aleksandar Mitrovic header forced a smart save from Swiss keeper Yann Sommer after four minutes.
Seconds later, Tadic took the ball past left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, cut back on his favored left foot and delivered a majestic cross that Mitrovic duly buried with his head.
In a frenetic first half, Switzerland had more of the ball but were sloppy with it, giving away possession in advanced positions and sending Serbia on the break.
Lazio’s highly rated Sergej Milinkovic-Savic fizzed a right-footed shot narrowly wide of Sommer’s right post on 15 minutes, and Mitrovic almost scored with a spectacular bicycle kick that went the same way minutes later.
Switzerland, who came to Russia ranked ahead of the likes of France and Spain, felt their way into the game as the first-half progressed.
On the half-hour mark, Steven Zuber cleverly teed up Blerim Dzemaili but the Hoffenheim man got his feet in a muddle and Vladimir Stojkovic was able to parry away.
But it was Serbia, who beat Costa Rica 1-0 in their Group E opener, who nearly went in two up.
Nemanja Matic missed a glorious chance to double the lead just before the break when Tadic’s in-swinging corner found him unmarked at the back post but the Manchester United midfielder couldn’t sort his feet out.
Matic said during the build-up the team were expecting a “hellish” encounter with the Swiss, who in their game with Brazil fouled star forward Neymar 10 times alone.
Switzerland grew in stature after the break and were rewarded with a spectacular equalizer courtesy of Xhaka’s 52nd-minute piledriver.
They had the better chances in the second period, with Shaqiri’s curling effort from the edge of the area grazing Stojkovic’s bar on the hour mark.
Coach Vladimir Petkovic brought on attackers Breel Embolo and Mario Gavranovic in a bid to force a winner, and Gavranovic forced a smart save from Stojkovic from a close range effort with 10 minutes remaining.
But it was Stoke City winger Shaqiri who struck the decisive blow, breaking through Serbia’s offside trap to slot home calmly as the 90 minutes wound down.
Serbia will now need something from their final Group E match against Brazil, while a draw against Costa Rica would see Switzerland through.