Gulf Cup: Oman Hope to Bounce Back with Win Over Kuwait

Gulf Cup: Oman Hope to Bounce Back with Win Over Kuwait
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Published December 24th, 2017 - 19:46 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Oman national football team
Oman national football team

In a make or beak game, Oman will be hoping to put their Gulf Cup campaign back on track with a victory over hosts Kuwait on Monday.

The match, to be played at Jaber International Stadium in Kuwait City, is scheduled to kick off at 9.00 p.m. Oman time.

Oman, who won their maiden Gulf Cup title back in 2009, failed to make a winning start at the 23rd edition of the championship as they lost their opening Group A match by a 1-0 margin to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday night.

After Friday’s match, the Omanis, quite obviously, were disappointed but not disheartened. In fact, their coach Pim Verbeek had words of encouragement for the players, saying he was proud of his players and their performance.

“We are not satisfied with the result but I am proud of the players and I am happy with the performance of the team,” the Dutchman had said on Friday.

Oman team coach Pim Verbeek, second left, and goalkeeper Fayeez Al Rusheidi, second right, pictured during a match-eve press conference on Sunday. Photo - OFA

On the eve of Kuwait match too, Pim Verbeek spoke on similar lines which is sure to boost the morale of the Omani players.

“We have prepared well for Kuwait match. We will do out best to score the goals and we will look to win the match,” Verbeek said during a match-eve press conference on Sunday.

Describing the match as a ‘very special and important’ one at this stage of the tournament, he said: “It is very a important match. It is a match between two team who deserved to win their respective opening matches. Now both Oman as well as Kuwait will be looking for a victory tomorrow.”

Kuwait, a record 10-time winners, lost their opening match 2-1 to Saudi Arabia.

Verbeek stressed his wards are completely focussed on Kuwait match and are hoping to achieve a positive result.

“We are fully focussed on tomorrow’s match. Kuwait are a well organised team and they were close to getting a valuable point against Saudi Arabia. We know their team well. We will do our best to score goals and win the match,” Verbeek added.

While Fayeez Al Rusheidi, who was outstanding under the bar during the UAE match, is sure to be picked in the starting eleven, it remains to be seen what coach Verbeek’s combination will be for Kuwait match.

And it also remains to be seen if the Dutchman will go for more attacking options by playing the star forward Abdulaziz Al Muqbali from the start.

Against the UAE, Verbeek used the Suwaiq Club striker as a second-half substitute, replacing Mohsin Johar Al Khaldi.

In a must-win match, Abdulaziz Al Muqbali’s experience as well as his speed and power, will be vital to make an early impact on the proceedings. Mercurial Raed Ibrahim Saleh Al Haikal and Jameel Al Yahmadi are sure to provide the much-needed support in team’s attempts to launch attacks.

Much will also depend on how veteran players like midfielder Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ and winger Saad Suhail will help the young players cope with the pressure of a big game and play to their potential.

On the defence front, the combo of Ali Al Busaidi and Mohammed Al Musallami are sure to stand solid in front of Fayeez Al Rusheidi.

After the Kuwait match, Oman will are scheduled to play their final group match against Saudi Arabia on Thursday, when Kuwait will take on the UAE.

Meanwhile, defending champions Qatar are leading Group B after a 4-0 win over Yemen. The other teams in the group, Iraq and Bahrain played out a 1-1 draw in their opening match.

The semifinals are scheduled to be played on January 2 and the final is slated for January 5.

© Muscat Media Group

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