Jubilant UAE edged into both a second-successive AFC Beach Soccer Championship final and Beach Soccer World Cup after Waleed Beshr’s superb volley two minutes from the end defeated Oman 3-2.
Friday’s pressure last-four clash between the Middle East neighbours in Pattaya, Thailand, seemed set for extra time after the Omanis twice came from behind to level. Beshr’s dramatic intervention, however, has teed up a showdown on Sunday against Japan, who cruised through with a 6-0 dismantling of Palestine.
“I’d like to thank God for everything, I’d also like to thank my players for everything,” said Whites boss Mohamed Al Maazmi to the AFC. “This was a big match between UAE and Oman.
“It was a tough and hard match between two strong teams. (World Cup qualification) is not my goal. I have one more step. My focus now is just on the final.
“I’d also like to thank AFC for their organisation of this tournament.”
A sixth-ever World Cup for the UAE will take place from November 21-December 1 in Paraguay. Before then, the Whites will look to improve on 2017’s heavy AFC final defeat against Iran.
On Friday, Hasham Al Muntaser secured an early lead from the spot after Oman goalkeeper Amjad Al Hamdani was penalised for venturing too far while carrying the ball. Nooh Al Zadjali then levelled in the 19th minute with a goal out of nothing.
Abbas Ali’s powerful drive, however, soon put the UAE back in control.
Oman drove on, knowing a World Cup place was on the line. UAE captain Walid Mohammad cleared a shot off the line, while shot stopper Mohamed Al Bahri made two fine saves.
Sami Al Bulushi’s deflection off Jalal Al Sinani’s off-target shot eventually drew them deservedly level in the 28th minute.
Oman hopes were shattered as the clock wound down, Beshr’s volley on the turn at the death earning a memorable triumph.
The vanquished will get a last shot at securing a World Cup berth when they meet fellow semi-final losers Palestine.
“First of all, I have to congratulate the Emirates team for qualifying for the World Cup,” said Oman coach Talib Hilal. “We are not out of the qualification for the World Cup.
“We have one more chance. We played well today.”
In the other side of the draw, Ozu Moreira’s pair of free-kicks set Japan on their way to an ominous humbling of previously undefeated Palestine.
This dominant result – after the epic previous beating of holders Iran – earned a 10th-consecutive Beach Soccer World Cup appearance.
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