Roberto Mancini is no stranger to a dramatic finish, having managed Manchester City during Sergio Aguero’s famous stoppage-time winner in 2012. On January 16, 2024, Ali Al Bulayhi scored in the sixth minute of added time, leading Saudi Arabia to a 2-1 victory over Oman in the Asian Cup. Mancini likened the thrilling win to a page out of his playbook, emphasizing the significance of the moment for his team and fans despite it being their opening game in Group F.
The Last Minute Goal and Celebrations
Al Bulayhi’s dramatic header sparked confusion and chaos after being initially ruled out for offside, only to be given after a VAR review. The ensuing jubilation among the Saudi players and fans reflected the intensity of the moment, causing an extended delay in the match’s resumption. Mancini, while impassive, was evidently frustrated as his team failed to find an equalizer to Oman’s early penalty.
Abdulrahman Ghareeb’s Impactful Substitution
Oman withstood pressure from Saudi Arabia until Ghareeb scored a brilliant individual goal in the 78th minute, seemingly salvaging a point for his team. However, Al Bulayhi’s winning goal in the sixth minute of stoppage time, assisted by Ali Lajami, sealed the victory for Saudi Arabia in a thrilling conclusion to the match.
Supachai’s Double for Thailand
In the other Group F game, Supachai Chaided scored both goals in Thailand’s 2-0 victory over Kyrgyzstan. Thailand dominated at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, with Supachai capitalizing on his team’s superiority to secure the win.