Qantas Socceroos held by Oman

The Qantas Socceroos have begun their final phase of World Cup qualification with a goalless draw against Oman in Muscat on Friday.

google.load('visualization', '1.0', {'packages':['corechart']}); google.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart); function drawChart() { var data = new google.visualization.DataTable(); data.addColumn('string', 'Winner'); data.addColumn('number', 'Games'); data.addColumn('string', 'Venues'); data.addRows([ ['Qantas Socceroos win', 3, 'Australia, Australia, Oman'], ['Oman win', 1, 'Oman'], ['Draw', 2, 'Oman'] ]); var options = {'title':'Qantas Socceroos vs Oman', 'width':350, 'height':200, 'colors':['#ebe41a', '#d42f2f', '#c3c3c3'] }; var chart = new google.visualization.PieChart(document.getElementById('chart_div')); chart.draw(data, options); } The Qantas Socceroos have begun their final phase of World Cup qualification with a goalless draw against Oman in Muscat on Friday.

After chief rivals Japan thrashed Jordan 6-0 earlier on Friday to lead Group B with six points, Australia were keen to make a strong start to their own campaign, prior to a vital clash against the Blue Samurai in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Head coach Holger Osieck made three changes to the Socceroos side which suffered a 2-0 defeat in Copenhagen last week.

Matthew Spiranovic, Mile Jedinak and Archie Thompson all made way for Sasa Ognenovski, Carl Valeri and David Carney.

In a first half lacking rhythm, it was hosts Oman who settled the quickest during early proceedings, with Australia struggling to adapt to the oppressive conditions at the Sultan Qaboos Sport Complex.

But despite drawing two fouls in dangerous positions during the opening ten minutes, the hosts failed to create any clear-cut chances.

As the half wore on, the Socceroos began to hit their stride and David Carney registered Australia's first shot on target after 20 minutes.

The Bunyodkor full-back unleashed a fierce left-footed strike from outside the box, only for Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi to tip the ball away for a corner.

Mark Bresciano and Carl Valeri started to enjoy more time on the ball and the latter had two opportunities to give Australia the lead in the space of three minutes.

However, Al-Habsi was up to the task, denying the Sassuolo midfielder on both occasions.

Valeri tested the Wigan Athletic shot-stopper from distance on 32 minutes, only to have his strike tipped away for a corner.

And three minutes later the 27-year-old Valeri had a low shot pushed away following some strong work from Harry Kewell inside the penalty area.

Oman dominated the second half, forcing Australia deep into their defensive half for prolonged periods of time, and the hosts' dominance was almost rewarded courtesy of Amad Al Hosni.

The striker's 57th-minute header seemed destined for goal but Mark Schwarzer's remarkable save ensured the scores remained level.

Osieck's side rarely threatened and struggled to cope with conditions, although they had a chance to snatch all three points on 82 minutes.

Substitute Archie Thompson found himself one-on-one with Al-Habsi but he failed to score from inside the six-yard-box.

Paul Le Guen's men were full value for their point and the Socceroos now return to Australia with plenty of work to do ahead of Tuesday's clash against table-topping Japan at Suncorp Stadium.

The Qantas Socceroos will host Japan in their first home fixture of the fourth stage of Asia-s FIFA World Cup qualification process on Tuesday, 12 June at Brisbane-s Suncorp Stadium. Kick off is at 8pm.

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