KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — World ranked 90th team, Oman secured the Airmarine Cup football tournament title by edging Singapore 5-4 in the penalty shoot-out during the final match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, last night.
The match was forced to be decided by the penalty shoot-out after both teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.
As the winner, Oman brought home the tournament trophy and also the medals which were presented by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) vice-president, Ahmad Joehari Ayub.
In last night’s action, Oman clearly dominated the first half of the match by launching staunch attacks to the Lions’ fortress and they have to wait until the 22nd minute to break the deadlock via a header from Abdul Aziz Humaid Al-Maqbali, courtesy of a cross from Raed Ibrahim Saleh.
Singapore almost got the equaliser, but referee Suhaizi Shukri ruled out a request from the Lions player to get the penalty, despite Yasir Hanapi’s shot clearly hit Jameel Salem’s hand inside the penalty box in the 44th minute and the 1-0 scoreline remained until the end of the first half.
After the restart, both teams exchanged attacks, but it was Singapore which found the equalising goal via substitute, Muhammad Zulfahmi Arifin which curled his free kick into the top left corner of Oman’s goalmouth.
Both teams failed to add the second goal, forcing the match to be decided in the penalty shoot-out.
Muhammad Faris Ramli failed to convert the penalty for Singapore which saw Oman clinching the Airmarine Cup with a 5-4 victory.
Speaking at a post-match press conference, Oman’s head coach, Erwin Koeman was happy with the performance of his charges, but acknowledged that Singapore gave a tough challenge to his team in the match.
“This victory shows that we are the better team but Singapore played a good game in the second half by creating more goal scoring chances, but overall, I’m happy with what the players had achieved,” he said.
Singapore’s caretaker, Nazri Nasir also praised his squad which displayed a ‘never say die’ attitude despite trailing one goal behind in the first half.
“I’m proud with what the players have done throughout the entire tournament. They fought all the way and they pushed them very hard and sooner or later, we can score the equalising goal, but nevertheless, credit goes to the players for their outstanding performance,” he said.
Earlier, Malaysia bounced back from a goal down to beat Afghanistan 2-1 in the third/fourth classification match held at the same venue. — Bernama