DOHA, Qatar overcame a gritty Oman 2-1 to pick up their third win in the 2022 FIFA World and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualification here at the Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday night.
The victory meant that the 2022 World Cup hosts lead Group E after having defeated Afghanistan (home) and Bangladesh (away) and a goalless draw against India at Al Sadd Stadium last month.
Akram Afif opened the scoring in the second minute with a clinical finish after he was put through by the hard-working Yusuf Abdurisag.
The Asian champions could have added their second, but captain Hasan Al Haidous spurned a penalty in the 25th after goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi tripped Akram inside the box though the Omani escaped without a booking.
That was the closest chance Qatar had after that early goal, but Al Haidous saw his shot hit the near post.
Oman didn't lose hope as they fought tooth and nail. They came back with a renewed confidence in the second-half which helped them equalize through Al Mandhar Al Alawi in the 65th.
With Oman keeping Qatar under check with their incisive forays, Almoez Ali silenced them with a winning goal six minutes later following a quick counter attack.
However, Qatar's star striker was surprisingly silent as he was tightly marked by the Omanis.
Before the goal, which helped Qatar pick up their third win in the group, Almoez attempted one of his trademark back-volleys in the 56th minute but it didn't puncture the Omanis' confidence.
Qatar's performance left a lot to be desired as their back-line escaped some close shaves.
Abdulaziz Al Maqbal was almost clear as he carried Tarek Salman, who intercepted him well and denied a close look at the goal in the first half. He once again came close to equalizing in the seventh minute but his shot hit goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.
Source: Qatar Olympic Committee