India and Bangladesh, meanwhile, will fight it out in their bid to gain automatic places in the third round of qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup.
Qatar lead Group E with 19 points from seven matches with second placed Oman seven adrift but with two games in hand - against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Felix Sanchez’s side stretched their lead at the top of the standings after defeating India 1-0 on Thursday and a draw against Oman will seal top spot and confirm their place in the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Finals.
With their Matchday Two draw against India in September 2019 the only blot in their near flawless qualifying campaign, Qatar will go into the tie having already beaten Oman once in the Asian Qualifiers, a 2-1 win at the Al Janoub Stadium in 2019.
Sanchez wasn’t overly concerned with his team’s inability to put away their chances against India on Thursday but will remind his players that they can’t afford to squander opportunities against an Oman side bidding to steal top spot from the reigning AFC Asian Cup holders.
While addressing the media ahead of the match, Sanchez said, “We want to secure the top spot in the group and we hope to win tomorrow’s match against Oman.
We will play in order to qualify for the Asian Cup aiming to clinch maximum points.
“While we will push for a win, we also realise that the Omani national team is a rival team for the top spot in the group. We face a good team that plays with a strong performance, and this is what motivates us to give as much as possible in order to win, which is the desired goal of this match,” he added.
He further said, “I see that the responsibility entrusted in us is greater than the pressures while we are playing in Qatar which is an advantage for us to perform in the appropriate way, especially since all the details can make a difference, and there is no doubt that we aspire to present a good match through which we can qualify for the Asian Cup 2023 Finals.”
Regarding Salem Al Hajri’s injury, Sanchez said: “Al Hajri’s injury has saddened us a lot, because he is returning from a previous injury and we stand with him. He is ready to come back, but I was careful not to take the risk and play him against India, but it is very possible that he will be one of our squad members in the upcoming matches.”
Branko Ivankovic’s Oman are in a strong position to claim one of the qualifying spots for the best second-placed teams should they fail to leapfrog Qatar after the completion of their remaining matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
“We are proud to play tomorrow’s match against Qatar, the Asian champions, we will face a strong team and we will do our best and fight for a good result,” said Ivankovic.
Oman will head into the tie against Qatar having registered wins over Thailand (1-0) and Indonesia (3-1) in friendlies and Ivankovic has named a strong 29-member squad for this month’s triple-header, including striker Munther Al Alawi and 30-year old Ali Al Busaidi.
Bangladesh vs India
Meanwhile, it will be an all-South Asian affair as Bangladesh take on India in their crucial clash at the Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium at 5pm with both sides vying to seal third place in Group E.
Both teams are out of contention of qualifying for the next round of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers but still have a lot to play for in their remaining fixtures as a third place finish will seal qualification to the Third Round of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers.
Currently at the bottom of the group with two points from six games, Bangladesh rallied back to hold Afghanistan on Thursday and head coach Jamie Day will be relying on that same intensity to see them get past India.
When the two teams met in 2019, Bangladesh were disappointed not to walk away with the three points as India scored late in the game courtesy of Seiminlen Doungel’s strike.
India, who had to play with 10 men against Qatar on Thursday, will be targeting their first win of the campaign as Igor Stimac’s side look to improve on their haul of three points from six matches.
India kept Qatar at bay in the second half thanks to some solid defending and with Glen Martins coming off an impressive debut in Indian colours alongside a rested Sunil Chhetri, Stimac will be optimistic of his team’s chances against Bangladesh.