Gulf Cup: Qatar defeat Saudi Arabia for third title

Gulf Cup: Qatar defeat Saudi Arabia for third title
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Published November 27th, 2014 - 09:01 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Khoukhi Boualem celebrates after scoring Qatar's winning goal
Khoukhi Boualem celebrates after scoring Qatar's winning goal

Qatar won their third Gulf Cup title after recovering from an early goal to beat hosts Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Wednesday.

Skipper Saud Kariri opened the scoring for the Saudi team, also three-time champions, after 16 minutes at the nearly full King Fahd Stadium but Qatar replied with a magnificent header from defender Al Al Mahdi two minutes later.

Algerian-born Khoukhi Boualem scored the winner for 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar in the 58th minute to hand his team their first Gulf title away from home.

Qatar, winners in Doha in 1992 and 2004, made a slow start to the tournament, failing to win a match at the group stage, but hit form with a 3-1 win in the semifinals against Oman before capturing the title.   

The Saudis took the lead in the 16th minue off a corner. Nawaf Al Abid sent the ball in and the unchalleged Saudi skipper Khariri rose in time to head the ball past Qatari goalkeeper Qassem Burhan.

But the hosts delight lasted just two minutes as Qatar found the equaliser off a corner. Hassan Khalid, taking the flag kick, sent the ball in and Ali came up with a fine header to beat the Saudi custodian Waleed Abdullah.

After the equaliser Qatar played more cohesive game while the hosts started panicking though the latter managed to create a couple of clear chances.

Their best opportunity came just before the break Salem Al Dawsari did well to meet a pass from Al Abid but the shot the ball wide.

After resumption, the teams failed to maintain the same tempo and rhythm. But just after 60 minutes, Qatar went into the lead when Hassan's shot saw ball being deflected away from the goal and unmarked Saud Kariri volleyed it into the goal to the delight of Qatari fans.

The Saudis fought till the end but Qatar managed to maintain their lead till the final whistle to lift their third title.

Ali Mabkhout of the UAE bagged the top scorer award while Qassem Burhan of Qatar claimed the best goalkeeper prize. The player of the tournament went to Nawaf Al Adib of Saudi Arabia.

© Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2014

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