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Beach Socceroos stun Oman

23 January 2013-SBS

Australia kicked off its FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 AFC qualifiers in style with a 6-4 victory over Group A favourite Oman in Doha.

Panagiotis Nikas starred for the Beach Socceroos with four goals. Peter Crevani opened the scoring for the Aussies before David Zdrilic rounded off the scoring for Airton Andrioli's side.

It took Australia seven minutes to go ahead with Crevani producing a spectacular overhead goal from the right touchline, his left-foot strike giving Oman goalkeeper Haitham Showan no chance.

Two minutes later Australia doubled its lead with Nikas winning a soft penalty and then stepping up to make no mistake, sending Showan the wrong way.

Oman hit back 90 seconds before the end of the first period as Yaqoob Al Alawi fired a close-range right-foot volley into the top right corner.

Midway through the second period of play Oman levelled the score. Making the most of an error from Guilherme De Zouza, Khalid Al Oraimi created a two-on-one opening against Aussie goalkeeper Simon Jaeger and teed up Is'haq Al Qasmi for a tap-in into an open goal.

Not to be disheartened the Beach Socceroos restored their lead late in the period with Nikas chesting a Jaeger throw and then burying a superbly executed right-foot overhead. His shot bouncing in over the despairing dive of Showan.

However, it was soon all square again as Australia's defence went to sleep at a corner and left Abdullah Al Balushi unmarked at the far post to head home.

Early in the final period Australia went in front for the third time and it was Nikas bagging a hat-trick after a defensive mix-up involving two Oman players.

Al Oraimi squandered two fantastic chances to equalise before Nikas made his pay with Australia's fifth goal as time began to run out.

The match was effectively over when ex-Socceroos striker Zdrilic fought off the attentions of his marker and Showan to walk the ball into the next and make it 6-3.

Yet Oman still has time to score and end the game at 6-4 with Al Oraimi on target as time expired.

The win and three points against 2011 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finalist Oman is a huge boost for Australia, which did not play a single warm-up game before the tournament.

Next up for Australia is a meeting with host Qatar (Thursday 4:15am AEDT) before its final group match against Afghanistan (Friday 12:15 AEDT.

You can see all of Australia's games at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2013 AFC qualifiers LIVE streamed on The World Game website. Click here for all the details.

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