Oman make Asian Cup second round to set up Iran clash

Thumbs up for Oman as they beat Turkmenistan to make it to the knockout stages. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Oman make Asian Cup second round to set up Iran clash

  • Pim Verbeek's side beat Turkmenistan to scrape into knockout stage.
  • Oman due to fave tournament favorites Iran on Sunday.

LONDON: Muhsen Al-Ghassani and Mohammed Al-Musallami were the heroes as they fired in late goals to give Oman a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan and secure progress to the second round in the process.
Oman coach Pim Verbeek said before the match that a 2-0 win would be enough for his team to advance, and his side started on the front foot as they went in search of the opening goal.
They were rewarded when they took the lead after 20 minutes thanks to a brilliant Ahmed Al-Mahaijri free-kick.
Turkmenistan hit back, however, and came close in the 31st minute when Murat Yakshiyev’s header was tipped over by goalkeeper Faiyz
Al-Rusheidi.
The Central Asians were not to be denied and grabbed the equalizer in the 41st minute, Altymyrat Annadurdyyev unleashing a venomous shot into the top left corner.
After controlling the tempo of the game throughout, the Omanis continued to press Turkmenistan in the second half and had a number of opportunities to regain their lead — both Al-Musallami and Khalid Al-Hajri going close.
The Turkmen keeper Mamed was in inspired form and continued to keep Oman at bay. But with just six minutes left Al-Ghassani pounced from close range and Al-Musallami added a stoppage-time header to give Oman their first points of the tournament.
They now face the daunting task of playing tournament favorites Iran in the knockout stage on Sunday.


Kusal Perera the hero as Sri Lanka pull off stunning run chase to beat South Africa in Durban

Updated 16 February 2019
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Kusal Perera the hero as Sri Lanka pull off stunning run chase to beat South Africa in Durban

DURBAN: Sri Lanka pulled off a stunning against-the-odds run chase to beat South Africa by one wicket in the first Test on Saturday as Kusal Perera almost single-handedly won the game with his 153 not out.
Chasing an unlikely 304, Sri Lanka were 226-9 and seemingly out of it. But a last-wicket partnership of 78 between Perera and Vishwa Fernando took the tourists to a thrilling victory on the fourth day.
Perera scored 68 of those 78 runs, but Fernando hung in for 27 balls for his 6 not out to allow Perera to guide the tourists home.
Sri Lanka’s victory gives them a 1-0 lead in the short two-test series and ends South Africa’s run of seven straight home series wins.
Sri Lanka’s 304-9 was the third-highest successful run chase in nearly 100 years of Test cricket at the Kingsmead ground in Durban.
Perera won it with a late cut down to the boundary for four, prompting Sri Lankan players to sprint from the dressing room and out onto the pitch to congratulate their match winner. Perera removed his helmet and thrust both arms up in the air to celebrate one of the best innings ever by a Sri Lankan.
Sri Lanka have lost their last three series and had two debutants and a new captain for the first test, meaning few people gave the inexperienced visiting team a chance against South Africa.