Thailand downs Oman – AFC Asian Cup 07

12 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup…Rajamangala National Stadium, Bangkok – The game started fairly even, both teams doing quite well… but then something snapped in the Omani ranks around mid-way through first half, and the referee began to resemble a black-jack dealer in a casino. Yellow card after yellow card for dissent or unsporting behavior, and Oman unraveled.

It took until the substitution of Pipat Thonkanya a bit into the second half, and then at the 70 minute mark of the game, Thonkanya scored for Thailand, and then 8 minutes after that he scored again to put the Thais up 2-0. They never looked back, and Oman hardly threatened.

This pretty much eliminates Oman, and shoots Thailand to the top of Group A as the unlikely leaders. It makes the game tomorrow between the fancied Australia & Iraq very, very interesting.

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Another DRAW??? Qatar holds Japan… (Asian Cup Football)

9 07 2007

Hard-hittin’ Asian Cup!A balmy night in My Dinh National Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City… and certainly not the result the current Asia Cup holders (Japan) were looking for, but after a 2nd half strike by Naohiro Takahara, Qatar came back and equalised with a late goal by the Uruguayan-born Sebastián Quintana.  And that was that… a fantastic result for Qatar, and a result that will ensure the Japanese daily papers are aflutter tomorrow.

So with 4 games down, that’s 3 1-1 draws (Thailand vs Iraq, Australia vs Oman, Japan vs Qatar). All three could be considered ‘upsets’ of a sort, as Iraq, Australia & Japan are all considered ‘Asian Powers’ in the footballing fraternity, and especially the Australian team (who only just lost to eventual winners Italy in last year’s World Cup), and Japan, who currently hold the Asian Cup title.AFC Asian Cup 2007

The only team to have actually won a game thus far is Vietnam, who defeated the more-highly-touted UAE, 2-0.

Tomorrow brings us the following games:

  • Indonesia vs Bahrain, in Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta (Indonesia)
  • Malaysia vs China, in National Stadium Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

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Australia steals a draw! (AFC Asian Cup 07)

8 07 2007

AFC Asian Cup…Tim Cahill scored a late goal to save Australia from an embarrassing opening game defeat against Oman. Midfielder Badar Mubarak scored in the 32nd minute for Oman, and kept the Australian team well in check for the majority of the game in the stifling heat in Bangkok. The Socceroos should feel lucky, as this definitely was an escape against a team which had them in all sorts of trouble for nearly the entire match.

Harry Kewell did look lively in the first half, narrowly missing a cross from Luke Wilshire… but for the majority of the match it was the keeping of Mark Schwarzer that kept Australian hopes alive. Timmy!That was, until Tim Cahill – subbed on at the 62nd minute mark – scored the equalizer.

Australia should feel damn lucky about this…

This leaves all of Group A on equal points after one round of matches. Oman face Thailand on Thursday the 12th, and Australia’s next game is against Iraq on Friday the 13th. Ominous… 😉

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Beware Oman… Asian Cup 07

4 07 2007

Asian Cup 07

Preview #1 – Oman vs Australia (Group A, Sunday July 8th at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok)…

In the Asian Cup 07, group A is seen as the ‘group of death’. Iraq is a team that on their day, could beat anyone in the tournament. Co-hosts Thailand are going to be absolutely pumped to play at home. Australia is a newcomer to Asian football, but they are the team that went the furthest in last year’s World Cup (being beaten in controversial fashion by Italy, the eventual winner). And Oman is seen as one of the rising stars of Asian Football.

So the games beginning on Saturday July 7th between Thailand & Iraq, and Sunday July 8th between Australia & Oman in Thailand will go a long way towards telling us who is going to be the force from group A.

Badar Al Maimani of OmanOman goes into the match as the underdog, but they are not to be taken lightly. They have a dynamic offense – scoring 14 goals in 6 qualifying matches, and their nets are kept by Ali Al Habsi, the first Omani to play in the English Premiership, and one of Asia’s top keepers. They have a fast attack, supported by an offensive-minded midfield led by Ahmed Mubarak & Badar Al Maimani.

Harry!Australia go into the Asian Cup as overwhelming favourites, and their pace & depth should ensure that they get through the first match victorious. Players like captain Mark Viduka, Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill should ensure that Australia maximize the points. Still, in the hot humidity of Bangkok, anything can happen.

Argentinian Coach Gabriel Calderon had this to say: “It is football. Australia has very many good players, but sometimes surprises happen.”

Oman certainly hope so.

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