The Socceroos’ road to Qatar has taken a turn for the worse after a late penalty by Oman’s Abdullah Fawaz meant that Australia had to settle for just the one point.
Australia found itself up a goal coming into the final minutes of the game, confident in coming away with another qualifying victory after doing away handily with Vietnam, 4-0.
But in the 87th minute, opponents Oman found itself on the attack when Fran Karacic clumsily collected Muhsen Al-Ghassani in the box, giving away a penalty in the process. Fawaz would step up to take the penalty having already scored earlier in the half.
He made no mistake from the spot equalising the game for a second time for Oman. However, the game wasn’t dead and buried yet, with the Socceroos throwing men forward in an attempt to create one last chance.
That chance would come, in the third minute of added time, when Craig Goodwin found himself in space and got on the end of a cross in a position extremely reminiscent to Harry Kewell when he scored his famous goal against Croatia in 2006.
After scoring his maiden international goal against Vietnam last week, he had the chance to continue on with that great form and seal a last-grasp win for Australia.
However, unfortunately for Goodwin, he was unable to repeat those heroics as his shot went crashing into the side-netting. The hosts would see out the remaining minutes of the game to hold onto the draw.Embed from Getty Images
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Both sides came into this clash affected by COVID, with the home side missing seven players, while the Aussies were without Riley McGree. The visitors looked like they had the perfect start when Trent Sainsbury headed home a cross from Aaron Mooy in the fifth minute.
However, the goal would end up being ruled out for offside. This wouldn’t deter Australia, as Martin Boyle got on the end of a brilliant lofted through ball by Jackson Irvine, running in behind and winning a penalty thanks to a foul from Omani goalkeeper Faiz Al Rashidi.
Boyle was a thorn in the side for Oman for the majority of the game, with his electric pace too much to handle for the opposition backline. He used his vision to create chances, providing plenty of crosses from the wing.
Jamie Maclaren stepped up and opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 15th minute of the game. Australia would continue to dominate the first half with Tom Rogic having the best chance in the 44th minute.
The Celtic midfielder found space in the box before having his shot deflected over the bar. The second half was a complete contrast to the first with the home side coming alive.
In the 54th minute, Fawaz scored a brilliant goal from outside the box to equalise for Oman. The goal would turn the tides of the game with the hosts finding a second wind and began to dominate the affair.
However, the Socceroos would still have their opportunities to take all three points with chances aplenty. In the 68th minute Australia nearly regained the lead when Irvine struck a half-volley narrowly wide.
The game looked like it was going to be headed for a 1-1 stalemate with Australia failing to take any of their chances. However, in the 79th minute substitute Mitchell Duke managed to nod the ball towards Mooy who was open on the edge of the box.
The Shanghai Port midfielder would strike the ball on the half-volley with the ball bouncing into the bottom corner of the goal. Australia was on the brink of what would be a crucial three points before disaster struck for the Socceroos.
The Socceroos’ heads now turn Japan and Saudi Arabia next month for their final two fixtures in the group.
After a perfect start to their Qatar qualifying campaign where they broke the record for most consecutive wins, the Socceroos now find themselves in a position where they are unlikely to qualify for the World Cup automatically.
Australia currently sits three points behind Japan and realistically will need to win both of its remaining games to qualify automatically and avoid the playoffs.
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