Oman ready to cause more shocks in Asian Cup adventure

Oman beat Turkmenistan 3-1 to make the knockout stages. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Oman ready to cause more shocks in Asian Cup adventure

  • Pim Verbeek confident Oman can beat Iran in second round.
  • The Reds scraped through to the knockout stages after a 3-1 win over Turkmenistan.

LONDON: Oman may be viewed as one of the minnows but Pim Verbeek has warned the Asian Cup big guns to take them lightly at their peril.
The Reds scraped into the second round thanks to an inspired 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan. That gave them their the first points of the tournament and enabled them to squeeze into the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Before their victory over Turkmenistan Oman had lost 2-1 and 1-0 to Uzbekistan and Japan respectively in their earlier Group F matches. But Verbeek claimed Oman were well worth their place in the business end of the tournament.
“We had a good 2018 and we expected to do well in the Asian Cup. We were unlucky to lose to 
Uzbekistan while we held our own against Japan, who are a very, very good side,” the Dutch coach said.
Having made it to the knockout stages Verbeek is confident his side has what it takes to progress deep in the tournament.
The Gulf outfit will have to be at their very best on Sunday when they face tournament favorites Iran in Abu Dhabi. But Verbeek is only too aware of where his side need to improve ahead of the crunch clash and has backed them to continue the shocks.
“We conceded to Turkmenistan because we lost a little bit of concentration. It was the same against Uzbekistan and this is something that my players must overcome,” the coach said.
“Our dream was to go into the next round and we have achieved that. Now it is all or nothing matches and anything is possible.”


Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Updated 21 April 2019
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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

  • The 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets

NEW YORK: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid returned from injury to score a game-high 31 points and grab 16 rebounds, powering the 76ers to a 112-108 NBA playoff victory at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Despite a third-quarter incident that saw two players ejected, the 76ers seized a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against the Nets and could advance in the Eastern Conference best-of-seven matchup with a home victory Tuesday.
In the other Eastern Conference game, Khris Middleton finished with 20 points and nine rebounds as the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks put the Detroit Pistons on the brink of elimination with a 119-103 win. The victory give the Bucks a 3-0 lead and they can wrap up the series with a win on the road in the Motor City on Monday.
Philadelphia, down by 10 points early in the third quarter, battled back most of the second half before taking the lead on a run of eight points by Embiid, who missed game three with a sore left knee.
A slam dunk and layup by Embiid gave the 76ers their first late lead at 102-101 but, after an exchange of layups and three-pointers as well as turnovers, fell behind 108-107 on a basket by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris with 25 seconds remaining.
On the next 76er possession, Embiid flipped the last of his seven assists to Mike Scott, whose corner three-pointer put Philadelphia ahead to stay 110-108 with 19 seconds remaining.
Australian Ben Simmons — who added 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the 76ers — stole the ball from Brooklyn’s Jarett Allen and Tobias Harris sank two free throws for the last of his 24 points to clinch the triumph.
Caris LeVert led the Nets with 25 points while Brooklyn had 21 points each from Allen and D’Angelo Russell.
Cameroon star center Embiid was issued a flagrant foul in touching off an altercation 4:18 into the third quarter that saw Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler Brooklyn’s Jared Dudley ejected. Embiid, who had elbowed Allen in the face in game two, was whistled for a hard foul on Allen that prompted Dudley to rush at Embiid, taking down the Sixers big man. Butler swung his left arm at Dudley, who wound up in the front row seats with Simmons at one stage, to earn his ejection.
In Detroit, Brook Lopez tallied 19 points and had seven rebounds and five blocked shots and Eric Bledsoe scored 19 points for the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered 14 points and 10 rebounds for his third straight double-double in the series and Nikola Mirotic chipped in 12 points.
Detroit’s hobbled star Blake Griffin had 27 points in 31 minutes after he missed the first two games of the series with a sore knee.
Griffin was cleared with his leg heavily wrapped but it didn’t change the outcome.
The Pistons have now lost 13 straight playoff games dating back to 2008. In the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets — led by game highs of 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists from Serbian playmaker Nikola Jokic — pulled level with San Antonio at 2-2 in their opening series with a 117-103 road triumph over the Spurs.