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Australia beats Oman in Asian qualifier
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 10 - 2009

minute Tim Cahill goal gave Australia a vital 1-0 win over Oman in an Asian Cup qualifier Wednesday, boosting its chances of reaching the 2011 Finals in Qatar.
Cahill was on hand at the far post to tap in a cross from Scott Chipperfield, flicked on by Josh Kennedy. It was the Everton midfielder's 19th goal in 36 international appearances for the Socceroos.
The win lifted Australia off the bottom of Group B and onto level terms with Oman with four points from three matches. Kuwait and Indonesia face each other Thursday in their third fixture, and have three and two points respectively. The top two teams qualify.
Australia entered the match with only one point from its first two games, and a further loss Wednesday would have likely have left the Socceroos needing to win their last three games to qualify.
Australia had the best early chance, with a shot from veteran winger Harry Kewell tipped over the bar after only three minutes. A Cahill header in the 19th minute also went narrowly over the crossbar.
Oman had probably the best chance of the half after 26 minutes when Hassam al Hasni had space at close range but shot too high while Ahmed Hadid's free kick in the 36th minute was only just off target.
Kewell rifled a shot wide of the left hand post in first half stoppage time and Cahill had a chance to break the deadlock after 53 minutes but his snap shot went narrowly wide.
Chances had begun to dry up through the middle of the second half and midfields had become increasingly dominant until Cahill slotted home the winner.
The two teams will meet again in Muscat, Oman, on Nov. 14.
Japan blanks Togo
Striker Shinji Okazaki grabbed a hat-trick to propel Japan to a 5-0 home victory over a threadbare Togo in a Kirin Cup friendly Wednesday.
Okazaki scored twice and strike partner Takayuki Morimoto added a third with a sharp shot on the turn to stun the visitors.
Okazaki completed his hat trick 20 minutes into the second half before substitute Keisuke Honda made it 5


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