Singapore – Oman made it two wins out of two in Group A of the AFC Asian Cup 2015 qualifiers as first-half goals by Qasim Said and Eid Al Farsi earned the Middle Eastern side a 2-0 win over Singapore on Wednesday.
Said put the visitors ahead at the Jalan Besar Stadium after 15 minutes when he fired home from close range and Al Farsi doubled their advantage just before the interval with an accurate low drive from distance.
Oman were unable to add to the scoreline after the break but coach Paul Le Guen was satisfied with the straightforward win which sent his side to the top of the group, three points ahead of Jordan who take on Syria on Thursday.
“I think that we did the job tonight. It was vital for us to get the win and we did it,” said the Frenchman. “I thought that during the first half, we were average. We were not creating chances but we were efficient in our finishing.
“It was not easy for my players as they had to leave Oman before Eid to prepare for this game. The conditions and the artificial turf made it difficult but the most important thing tonight was we got the three points as our aim is to qualify for Australia.”
Playing their first competitive match under coach Bernd Stange, Singapore began the match at an unfamiliar high tempo and gave the Omanis little time to dwell on the ball early on.
But the visitors absorbed the pressure and took the lead on the quarter-hour when they worked the ball to the right of the box to an unmarked Said, who took a touch before drilling a shot across goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud into the far corner of the net.
Singapore’s best chance of an equaliser came in the 29th minute when they were awarded a free-kick 20 metres out but Qiu Li curled his effort narrowly wide.
That miss would prove costly as the visitors extended their lead in the final minute of the half. Abdulaziz Al Muqbali found Al Farsi in space in the middle and the midfielder had time to line up an accurate low shot from 22 meters that skimmed past Izwan into the bottom left corner.
Singapore attempted to raise their game after the break but for all of their possession, it was the Omanis who appeared more likely to increase their lead on the counter-attack if not for poor finishing.
Despite the loss, Stange felt that his team still had plenty to build on for the future.
“Tonight’s match gave us all a clear picture of this team and it is not as bad as the result seemed,” said the German.
“We tried to dominate the game but we conceded an early goal which is normal. But the second goal just before half-time was a blow and it was hard to recover from that as we did not have enough physical power to raise our game.
“We enjoyed lot of possession but the next step is to play a more aggressive attacking game. I am not disappointed with our performance but Oman were physically stronger and they deserved to win the game.”