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Oman stun Japan in World Cup qualifying

Oman's Issam Al Sabhi kicks the ball to score against Japan. (File photo/Kyodo via Reuters)
Oman's Issam Al Sabhi kicks the ball to score against Japan. (File photo/Kyodo via Reuters)
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02 Sep 2021 10:09:27 GMT9
02 Sep 2021 10:09:27 GMT9

Oman stunned Japan in the opening game of the final World Cup qualifying round on Thursday, winning 1-0 thanks to an Issam Al Sabhi goal in the closing minutes.

Japan’s shock home defeat in Group B came after the Samurai Blue dominated the previous rounds, with eight wins from eight.

After a scoreless first half at a rainy Panasonic Stadium in Osaka, the hosts sent on young stars Takefusa Kubo and Ritsu Doan — both joining the national team after playing in the Tokyo Olympics.

But Oman broke through Japan’s defensive line several times and Al Sabhi netted the 88th-minute winner — just a few minutes after coming off the bench.

Japan, Asia’s highest-ranked side, are seeking a seventh straight appearance at the World Cup finals in 2022 in Qatar.

The group also includes Australia, China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

AFP

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