After an even first-half, City dominated after the break but found the Oman goalkeeper in inspired form as he pulled off three fantastic saves to deny Mark O’Sullivan twice and Chidozie Ogbene to keep the score at 1-1.
City manager John Caulfield had John Kavanagh returning after a long injury lay off and he started with a mixture of experience and youth as he gave his first team regulars a night off after their recent exertions.
Despite the home starting the better of the two, it was the Omanis who should have went in front in the seventh minute. Harib Al Saadi split the defence with a lovely through ball and captain Abdul Al-Maqbali looked certain to score after taking the ball around ‘keeper Eric Grimes but the Oman captain inexplicably put the ball wide after doing the hard work.
City went in front in the 38th minute when Ian Turner had a rasping drive saved by Al Rushaidi who palmed the ball up in the air and Gavan Holohan reacted quickest to force the ball home from 10 yards. The lead didn’t last long however as Oman equalised within a minute when Al-Maqbali clipped a delightful ball over the City defence for Mohsin Al Khaldi to sweetly volley home.
Omar Al Malki came close to number two just before half-time but his effort came back off the post after another defence splitting pass this time from Ali Al Busaidi.
Oman had Al Rushaidi to thank for keeping them in the game as he made a great stop from close range to deny Mark O’Sullivan soon after the restart before the inspired keeper then was at full stretch to tip O’Sullivan’s header over his own crossbar.
Turner then missed a sitter when he headed wide from 8 yards before Al Rushadi made another world class save to tip Ogbene’s header over the bar.
Oman did have a good chance on the hour mark but Matthew Connor made a good stop to deny Al Malki.
Grimes (M O’Connor 45), Kavanagh (Manley 45), McSweeney, Mulcahy, McCarthy (Taylor 80), Turner, Phillips (Tazouti 45), Holohan (Coleman 45), Healy (O’Riordan 80), Ogbene, O’Sullivan (Ellis 80).
Al Rushaidi, Al Mushaifri (Al-Maashari 81), Almukhaini, Mabrook (Al Farsi), Al Busaidi (Al Shuabi 61), Saleh (Raboh 61), Al Saadi (Al Fazari 81), Al Shyadi (Al Ghassani 61), Al Malki (Al Yaqoubi 86), Al Khaldi (Al Amri 81), Al Maqbali (Al Jalaboubi 61).
A Buttimer (Cork).