xxxx: Muscat and Oman are through to the fourth and final round of World Cup qualifying in Asia – but Saudi Arabia are out.
Oman beat Thailand 2-0 to go through from Group but the Saudis were beaten 4-2 by Australia who struck three goals in four minutes in a remarkable second-half explosion of attacking intent after being 2-1 down.
Early goals from midfielder Salem Aldawsari and striker Nassir Al Shamraniwere inadequate as the Socceroos hit back in the last quarter with goals from Harry Kewell (73 minutes), Alex Brosque (75) and Brett Emerton (76).
The Saudis thus ended on six points with Oman above them on eight points and Australia on 15.
Franj Rijkaard, the Saudis’ Dutch coach, said: “If we had a little bit more courage and had stayed true to our game maybe it would have been different. It’s a big blow.”