Tim Cahill's injury-time goal in his first match in four months salvaged a 1-1 draw for Australia on their Asian Cup debut against Oman yesterday.
Badar Mubarak's first-half strike looked like souring the high-profile Socceroos' first taste of Asian Cup competition until Cahill's late equalizer.
Featuring Newcastle striker Mark Viduka, Liverpool winger Harry Kewell and Everton's Cahill amid a host of Europe-based stars, Australia came into the tournament as favorites despite being in the continental championship for the first time.
Instead Oman, who are 26 places below Australia in the world rankings, held onto a 1-0 lead for almost an hour until Cahill's last-gasp equalizer.
The Group A standings are now even, with all four teams on one point after the tournament opening 1-1 draw between Thailand and Iraq on Saturday night.
Oman's goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, was strong at the back, handling a dangerous free kick five minutes from time and a shot from Mark Bresciano at the end of the first half.
But he parried another shot from Bresciano and Cahill swooped, firing a shot to the 'keeper's right.
Determined defense from Oman's back four kept Australia's highly-experienced attack scoreless until seconds into injury time.
Unlike the monsoonal deluge that preceded the tournament opener the previous evening, yesterday's match kicked off in 34oC heat with 52 percent humidity.
Kewell, making his first starting appearance since the World Cup, partnered Viduka up front and had a scoring chance in the first half.
He ran wide of the Omani defenders to meet a Luke Wilkshire free-kick in the 22nd minute but failed to control his touch and skewed the ball across the goal.
Oman converted their best chance after Imad Ali crossed from the right to Mubarak, who drove a right-foot shot just beyond Mark Schwarzer.
The Omani team massed in the corner, got to their knees and bowed to celebrate -- directly in front of a band of Australian fans wearing yellow shirts.
Schwarzer made a difficult save to keep the margin at one when Ahmed Mubarak launched a powerful shot from the edge of the area in the 50th minute.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold, sensing the need for a gamebreaker, sent Cahill on in the 62nd minute and opportunities started surfacing.
John Aloisi's header just went over the bar before Schwarzer again had made a save to keep Australia in it as Imad Ali shot from close range.
The Australians became increasingly desperate in attack but the Omanis countered, with Schwarzer having to make another save from a close range effort from Fawzi Bashir in the 78th minute.
Co-hosts Vietnam beat United Arab Emirates 2-0 with a pair of lightening second-half strikes in their Asian Cup Group B opener yesterday.
Goals from defender Huynh Quang Thanh and striker Le Cong Vinh sparked wild celebrations for the home side, who are making their first appearance in the finals since 1960.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017