Oman beat Thailand to qualify (01/03/2012)
Oman ended Thailand's World Cup dream with a 2-0 win in Muscat yesterday.
With the victory, Oman advance to the next round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup at the expense of Saudi Arabia who lost 4-2 to Australia in Melbourne following the last round of matches in Asia's Group D.
The Australians had already qualified for Asia's final qualifying stage, or the last 10 team round, while Oman finished second in the group, ahead of the Saudis.
Thailand, who are still looking for their first-ever finals berth, were bottom.
In Muscat, Hussain al-Hadhri gave Oman the lead after just 10 minutes and fellow midfielder Abdul al-Muqbali finished off the Thais in the dying moments.
Thailand were reduced to 10 men with five minutes to go when substitute striker Teerathep Winothai was sent off for a rough tackle on Mohamed Hamed.
Needing a win to stand any chance of advancing, Thailand's task became tougher after 10 minutes when Oman stunned them with a fast break.
An Abdul Aziz Mubarak pass found al-Hadhri who beat Thailand goalkeeper Kawin Thamasatchanan for a 1-0 lead.
The hosts were the better side and squandered several scoring opportunities. Thailand's situation became worse after 35 minutes when midfielder Suchao Nutnum got injured and was replaced by inexperienced Sumanya Purisai.
Oman continued their dominance in the second half and kept piling the pressure on Winfried Schaefer's men who were unable to repeat their form that beat the Gulf team 3-0 in Bangkok.
Schaefer then sent on Teerathep who briefly gave Thailand a ray of hope with his dazzling display. But Thailand's dream was effectively over in the 85th minute when Teerathep was dismissed.
Al-Muqbali put the match beyond any doubt by scoring his team's second goal in injury time.
After the match, Schaefer lashed out at the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) for its poor management and lack of professionalism.
Four Thai players missed their initial flight to the Middle East because they forgot to bring their passports.
"The Thai FA must change its coordinators. It's a shame that four players missed the flight," said the German.
Sompop Nilwong was with the team but Schaefer only knew he was not eligible when they were in Oman because the FAT failed to resister him for the World Cup qualifying with the Asian Football Confederation.
"There must be changes," he said.
Schaefer said Thailand's preparations for the Oman match were improper with only five players joining the training camp on the first few days of training because many players had to play for their clubs while others were not released by their teams.
Meanwhile, Anucha Nakasai announced his resignation as Thailand's manager saying he did not have time to look after the team.
In Melbourne, Australia scored three goals in three minutes in a second-half burst to beat Saudi Arabia 4-2 and end the Middle East country's hopes of qualifying for the 2014 finals.
Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia took a 2-1 lead at half-time with goals from midfielder Salem Aldawsari and striker Nassir Al Shamrani.
But Australia came back strongly in the second half. A 73rd minute strike by Harry Kewell was followed by goals from Alex Brosque and Brett Emerton in quick succession before the 76th minute.
GROUP D STANDINGS
Group A: At Guangzhou: China 3 (Hao 43, 69, Yu 88) Jordan 1 (Salim 85)
Group B: At Abu Dhabi: UAE 4 (Saeed 20, 79, Al-Wehaibi 38, Matar 69) Lebanon 2 (El Ali 23, Maatouk 45+2); At Seoul: South Korea 2 (Lee Dong-Gook 65, Lee Keun-Ho 71) Kuwait 0
Group C: At Khujand: Tajikistan 1 (Khamrakulov 61) North Korea 1 (Jang 53 pen); At Toyota: Japan 0 Uzbekistan 1 (Shadrin 54)
Group D: At Melbourne: Australia 4 (Brosque 43, 74, Kewell 72, Emerton 75) Saudi Arabia 2 (Salem Al-Dossari 19, Al-Shamrani 45+2); At Bausher: Oman 2 (Al-Hadri 9, Aziz Mubarak 90+1) Thailand 0