A knockout stage berth is on the line for the Socceroos as they take on Oman this Tuesday night in their second match of the 2015 Asian Cup at Stadium Australia, in Sydney. With Australia fresh off a 4-1 thumping of Kuwait, they are looking to remain unbeaten, whereas the Red Warriors are trying to keep their hopes alive after a narrow defeat at the hands of Korea Republic.
2015 Asian Cup Preview
The last time these two sides met was in a World Cup Qualifier (2013), coincidentally held at the same Sydney venue, and the Socceroos are hopeful that’s the only thing this game will have in common. The final score of that match was 2-2, with Australia never leading, being forced to rally from behind on two occasions.
This time out the Socceroos will be looking to get up on the Red Warriors, where in front of 80,000 green and gold supporters they can secure a start in the next stage of the tournament, thanks to soundly defeating Kuwait on Friday night. While Oman is in a less fortunate situation, having ventured to Canberra on Saturday afternoon, where they lost 1-0 to the Korean Republic and now face the possibility of elimination.
Australia vs. Oman Times
When: Tuesday, 13 January at 8:00 pm (Sydney Time)
Where: Stadium Australia, Sydney
Live TV: Fox Sports 5 (Foxtel), 2 hour delay – ABC TV
Australia vs. United Arab Emirates (UAE) Live TV
Time: 8:00 pm (AEDT)
Date: Tuesday, 27 January
Location: Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Live Streaming to your Mobile Device
You can see all the Socceroos vs. UAE action live (mobile stream or standard TV) on Fox Sports, so if you aren’t a subscriber to Foxtel, you may wish to check out their latest plans such as the just announced ‘Epic’ Sports Package offer, which includes live mobile streaming through Foxtel Go. With new pricing, it may pay to compare Foxtel Packages to evaluate if their sport offering is for you.
The host nation got off to a shaky start on Friday night against Kuwait. The Socceroos conceded the opening goal in the eighth minute, with Hussain Fadhel quieting the capacity crowd. As such Kuwait had the home side under immense pressure, but an equaliser in the 33rd minute from Tim Cahill helped swing the momentum in favour of the Socceroos, before a late first half goal from Massimo Luongo gave Australia a 2-1 lead heading to the sheds.
From that point on the Socceroos were in complete control, with goals from captain Mile Jedinak and James Troisi ensuring that Australia never looked back. The outcome of Australia vs. Kuwait was a satisfying start to the tournament in a game which was really all about defense bar both goalkeepers, who pulled off some world class saves throughout the match.
In addition to the much needed victory, the Socceroos came through the match in great shape. The only injury concern is to captain Mile Jedinak, who rolled an ankle in the first half, but played the rest of the match and seemed fine.
Watch the Asian Cup on Foxtel
Socceroos Players to Watch
Massimo Luongo has been one of these younger players blooded in by coach Ange Postecoglou over the past 12 months to bring in the new generation of talent in Australia, and it paid big dividends, with the 22 year old setting up the Cahill goal as well as scoring his first International goal just before half time. He was subbed off 10 minutes from full time, but the work he did was outstanding and duly got a standing ovation from the Aussie fans. If he can keep bring the energy, he’s going to cause massive problems for Oman.
Nathan Burns is leading the goal scoring in the A-League, and Kuwait saw why when he was subbed on with 30 minutes to play, with three outstanding shots. It was only freakish goalkeeping and the cross bar which stopped him from netting. Oman also best not fall asleep on Tim Cahill, who’s effort vs. Kuwait showed he’s still one of the most lethal strikers in the world.
Oman, known as the ‘Red Warriors’, had a shaky end to 2014. They lost 4-3 to Costa Rica in October before a 3-0 loss to Uruguay. They then recorded their first win in five months with a 2-0 home win over Yemen before draws against UAE and Iraq before heading to the Gulf Cup of Nations where they kicked off the tournament with a 5-0 win over Asian Cup group opponents Kuwait before losing 3-1 to eventual champions Qatar and then a 1-0 loss to UAE to be knocked out of the tournament. While in December, they drew 2-2 with Qatar and then got belted 4-1 by China in December, which was their final lead up before the Asian Cup.
Their 2015 Asian Cup campaign kicked off on Saturday afternoon at Canberra Stadium against Korea Republic, losing 1-0. The score line doesn’t reflect how close Oman got, given they had several great chances on goal, but poor finishing cost them dearly. They bravely defended their goal for a majority of the match, but couldn’t take advantage of their attacking chances, which is something they will need to improve on if they are to upset the Socceroos.
Oman Players to Watch
Ali Al-Habsi is to this day the lone Omani to play in the English Premier League, having had stints with Bolton and Wigan Athletic. Serious injury kept him out for most of 2013, but came back in 2014 and was quite good in protecting his real estate. Despite conceding the goal on Saturday night, he was very good in restricting Korea Republic to just the lone goal. He will prove hard to get past for the likes of Cahill and Luongo.
Ahmed Mubarak is nearing 100 caps for his country after making his international debut in 2004. He is a well traveled player, having made the rounds in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. He is a very dangerous prospect who can create chances, so the hosts will need to be on their best in order to contain him.
Three Reasons To Watch Australia vs Oman:
1. A win and the Socceroos advance to the next stage!
2. These two sides have always played out fascinating contests, and this should be no exception.
3. It will be shown on Foxtel, through the Fox Sports channel on your local listings and as such can be streamed live on your mobile device with Foxtel Go, a standard feature in the Epic Sports Package.
Last Time They Met:
Australia 2-2 Oman
March 26, 2013, at Stadium Australia, Sydney (World Cup Qualifier)