AFC Asian Cup qualifier: Oman takes on Palestine in Asian Cup qualifier

Oman football team coach Pim Verbeek expressed confidence of a good showing from the Red Warriors against hosts Palestine in a Group D third-round match of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers to be played at the Faisal al Husseini Stadium in Ramallah on Tuesday night. The match kicks off at midnight.

Oman got off to a terrific start to its third-round campaign when it steamrolled minnows Bhutan 14-0 - marking its biggest ever win - in Muscat in March.

Verbeek missed the match due to a family tragedy, and he will lead the team for his first official game on Tuesday.

Verbeek and his squad now face a different challenge as they take on Palestine in an away game that could go some way towards deciding who takes the top spot in Group D.

“Against Bhutan, the team was technically good and the boys did exactly what they had to do on the field. We scored 14 goals, so we can be happy with that performance and the first three points as well as the goal-difference. That helps,” said Verbeek.

Palestine beat Maldives 3-0 in its opener to share the same number of points with Oman.

“We drew 1-1 against Syria in Muscat on June 2 and it is a tough opponent. The friendly match helped prepare us for a game like the one we have against Palestine on Tuesday. We were happy with our performance against Syria. The team could level only in the 93rd minute. The match gave us confidence. But that was a friendly, and it was 38 degrees [Celsius] in the evening in Muscat. Now it’s different here in the West Bank.”

“Home games are a big thing in Asian football,” he said. “When you play at home, you have a big advantage. That’s always the case because the other teams have to take long flights and have big time differences and different environments, the field and anything that you can see as an advantage. That’s how it is when you go away.

“Tomorrow, we hope to overcome the hosts’ challenge and put up a good show. We will try to secure three points,” said the Dutchman. “We have in principal enough quality to qualify.”

Success would see Oman continue an impressive qualifying record in recent years that has seen the sultanate appear at three of the last four Asian Cup tournaments.

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