Football enthusiasts in Oman were asked to avoid disputes ahead of the politically-sensitive semi-final between hosts United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
The much-anticipated Asian Cup game comes amid a regional dispute in which Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt cut political and economic ties with Doha.
The match has already inflamed controversy on social media.
Omani fans have been criticized on Twitter for showing support to Qatar during the team’s match against South Korea in the quarter-finals.
“Cheering for the team or club you like is a free right for the Omani fans, however, if showing public support would cause harm or risks to the fans, I would rather cheer from behind the screen and away from the stands,” Emad Al Hosni, former striker of the Oman National Football team said in an interview with Al Wisal.
#Qatar_UAE was the most trending Twitter hashtag on Monday. The match will kick-off on Tuesday, January 29 at 6:00 p.m. (Muscat time).
Other Twitter users called for marketing this match as an opportunity to calm the tension between the two nations, using #Our_Gulf_is_one as a hashtag to promote peace and unity.
The winner of the match will face undisputed Japan who dumped Iran out of the tournament on Monday.