Everton's star Tim Cahill saved Australia's face in their Asian Cup debut after his late goal leveled the Socceroos with Oman at 1-1 in the Group A competition at the Rajamangala National Stadium on Sunday.
The approximate 5,000 Australian fans appeared to be ready to leave the stadium with their heads low as Oman held on to their 1-0 lead for 90 minutes with their remarkable attacking game.
Obviously affected by the humidity and heat, Australia took a long time to settle in the match, allowing Oman to cause trouble from time to time in the first 20 minutes.
In the 31 st minute, Ahmed Al Mahijri ran into the box on the left side following an excellent exchange before crossing across the goalmouth to Badar Al-Maimani who slammed it into the net, despite Australia's keeper Mark Schwarzer getting his hand on the attempt.
Australia intensified their attacks from then on but never came close until Cahill fired a shot from inside the penalty area during the additional time.
"Relived and disappointed. The condition was extremely humid. Players said they couldn't breathe and run,'' said Australian coach Graham Arnold.
"We should have started better in the game. We Let Oman dictate and gave them confidence from the start."
"Australia appeared to play relaxed. But Oman also played good. The rian made it difficult for us to play," said Gabriel Calderon. - The Nation