WATCH: Socceroos held to draw in Oman
Australia’s hopes of automatic qualification for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 ™ were dealt a blow after being held to a 2-2 draw Oman in Muscat on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
For the second match in a row the Socceroos had an early goal chalked off with the linesman’s flag denying Trent Sainsbury who had strayed offside before heading home Aaron Mooy’s free kick in the fifth minute.
Australia got their opener ten minutes later when Jamie Maclaren slammed home a penalty after Martin Boyle was brought down inside the area.
Boyle superbly brought down a Jackson Irvine through ball before drawing contact in the box allowing Maclaren to emphatically slam home his seventh goal of the qualifiers.
Tom Rogic went closest to adding to the scores in the opening stanza with his deflected strike from inside the area after a jinking run turned over the crossbar on the stroke of half time.
Oman levelled the scores in the 54th minute through Abdullah Fawaz, who found the back of the net with a well-struck effort from the edge of the area.
Aaron Mooy reinstated Australia’s lead in the 79th minute when he slammed home an effort from the top of the box.
Mooy netted his second goal of the qualifiers after Craig Goodwin’s initial cross was nodded into his path by knock downs from Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke.
Australia were denied all three points in the 89th minute when Abdullah Fawaz scored his second of the night from the penalty spot.
The home side were awarded the second spot kick of the night after Fran Karacic fouled Muhsen Al-Ghassani inside the area.
Goodwin had the chance to snatch all three points for the Soceroos in stoppage time, slamming his effort into the side netting after Hrustic’s cross found him at the back post.
Wednesday morning’s result leaves Australia three points adrift of the group’s automatic qualification positions with just two games left to play in Round 3 of AFC FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Australia’s two remaining fixtures are against the two sides who sit above them in the group - Graham Arnold’s men host Japan in Sydney on March 24 before heading to group leaders Saudi Arabia for their final qualifier.
Ticket pre-sale commences for the Socceroos' clash with Japan on Wednesday morning at 10am AEDT.