AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers: Red Warriors tear Bhutan apart, shatter home record by 14-0

Abdulaziz al Miqbali (centre) embraces Saad Suhail after scoring a goal as his teammate Sami Hasan (right) looks on during the Oman-Bhutan match at the SQSC (V K Shafeer/Muscat Daily)

The weather office had sent out a forecast for a few spells of rain and generally cloudy weather this week. 

Well, not many would have predicted a raging cloudburst - of goals - that would eventually sweep a hapless Bhutan away at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex (SQSC) on Tuesday night.

With over 90 minutes of absolute domination in a final-round Group D qualification match for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Oman team pumped in one goal after another to secure a blinding 14-0 win against the unfancied visiting side.

The rout turned out to be Oman's biggest win in a competitive football match in recent times, trouncing the 12-0 victory over Laos at the same venue on April 30, 2001 - achieved nearly 16 years back.

The goal-fest began in the second minute of the match when striker Abdulaziz al Miqbali made a stunning solo run on the left flank to blast the ball home.

That was just the beginning of a lopsided affair as Miqbali bagged six goals and carved out a hat-trick as well in an astoundingly short ten-minute spell in the opening half.

Joining Miqbali in the goal-glut was debutant striker Khalid al Hajri, who came in as a substitute in the second half and slammed in four goals, including a 90th-minute penalty.

The UAE-based striker, who plays for Dhafra Club, completed the 14-0 rout in injury-time.

Defender Nadir Awadh, a fast-emerging youngster scored one, while experienced midfielder Ahmed Mubarak 'Kanu' was on target, along with fellow midfielder Mohsin Jawhar. Bhutan's Biren Basnet scored an own goal deflecting Awadh’s shot soon after the break.

The victory served as a fitting tribute to the national team's head coach, Pim Verbeek, who missed the match to attend the funeral of his sister in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Verbeek is expected to join the team on April 3. In his absence, Muhanna Said al Adawi led the team.

The match provided numerous occasions to celebrate for the nearly 5,000 spectators.

The deluge began when Miqbali received a long ball from midfielder 'Kanu' and made his way past his marker to send the ball home past Bhutan custodian Hari Gurung.

Bhutan then briefly kept the hosts at bay, but Oman held ball possession and tried to break the rival defence, which had already begun parking the bus.

Kanu broke through the defences in the 25th minute to make it 2-0, and six minutes later, Mohsin Jawhar sent in a stinging left-footed volley to make it 3-0.

After that, it was all about Miqbali as he scored an opportunistic goal from a goalmouth melee in the 36tb minute and then recorded a hat-trick. 

He fired home two more by the 43rd minute. Nadir Awadh struck in the dying seconds of half-time as Oman cantered to a 7-0 scoreline at the break.

The hosts added an eighth ten minutes into the second half as Awadh’s shot from Ali al Busaidi’s cross was deflected into his own net by Biren Basnet. 

Miqbali headed in his fifth in the 69th minute. 

Hajri then scored his maiden goal a minute later for Oman after coming on in the 63rd minute in place of Raeed Ibrahim.

Another goal from Hajri five minutes later made it 11-0 and Miqbali equalled the record margin of 12-0 with his sixth strike with four minutes remaining.

Hajri then blasted home two quick goals, first from the spot in the last minute of regulationtime, and again in injury-time.

Other results: Group A: Myanmar 0 India 1, Kyrgyzstan 1 Macau 0; Group B: Lebanon 2 Hong Kong 0; Group C: Afghanistan 1 Vietnam 1, Jordan 7 Cambodia 0; Group D: Maldives 0 Palestine 3; Group E: Bahrain 0 Singapore 0; Group F: Philippines 4 Nepal 1, Yemen 2 Tajikistan 1.

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