Al Khobar: Oman and Saudi Arabia set up an exciting finale to Group D of the AFC U-16 Championship 2020 Qualifiers after registering their second successive wins on Friday.
Oman defeated Syria 1-0 with a stoppage time goal while hosts Saudi Arabia scored a 4-2 win over Pakistan at the Prince Saud Bin Jalawi Stadium in Al Khobar.
Saudi Arabia, with a superior goal difference, will only need to avoid defeat against Oman on Sunday to confirm their place in the 2020 Finals.
Syria 0-1 Oman
Both teams went into the tie needing three points to keep their dreams alive, with Oman having defeated Pakistan 2-0 on Matchday One.
Syria were in a more desperate position, having lost 4-1 to hosts Saudi Arabia.
With so much at stake, neither side was willing to take unnecessary risks and goal attempts were at a premium as the first half ended goalless.
The second half saw more of the same, although two-time AFC U-16 Championship winners Oman had a slight edge in terms of possession but as the minutes ticked away, it looked like the tie would end in a goalless draw.
That, however, changed in dramatic fashion as substitute Abdul Rahman Al Jabri, who had come on in the 54th minute, turned hero for Oman with his goal in the first minute of second half added time.
Pakistan 2-4 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s search for goals began from the first blow of the referee’s whistle and by the 15-minute mark, the 1998 AFC U-16 Championship winners were 2-0 up.
The first was provided by defender Waleed Saber Hibab in the 14th minute and just seconds later, midfielder Abdulaziz Saud Alelewai doubled their advantage.
Pakistan were left shocked and it got worse for the South Asians as forward Muhannad Abdullah Barrah gave Saudi Arabia – who defeated Syria 4-1 in their opener – a very healthy lead to take into the break with his effort in the 38th minute.
Saudi Arabia opted to sit back in the second half, allowing Pakistan to come at them and the South Asians grabbed the opportunity to find the back of the net in the 63rd minute with forward Muhammad Amir Khan scoring the first goal of their campaign.
The goal saw Saudi Arabia springing into action and Alelewai scored his second of the night in the 67th minute.
Pakistan refused to give up and narrowed the deficit through forward Moin Ahmed in the 72nd minute but there were to be no more goals as Saudi Arabia set up an enticing clash with Oman.
Photos: Saudi Arabian Football Federation