Oman Edge Kuwait to Keep Gulf Cup Hopes Alive

Published December 25th, 2017 - 09:53 GMT
Kuwait's Faisal Ajab (R) vies for the ball with Oman's Mohammad Bin Saleh during the 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations football match between Kuwait and Oman at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City on December 25, 2017.

Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP
Kuwait's Faisal Ajab (R) vies for the ball with Oman's Mohammad Bin Saleh during the 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations football match between Kuwait and Oman at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City on December 25, 2017. Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP

Captain Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ scored from the spot as Oman edged hosts Kuwait 1-0 to put their Gulf Cup campaign back on track at the Jaber International Stadium in Kuwait City on Monday.

While the result, their first in two matches, kept the Sultanate squad’s hopes alive, it ended the hosts hopes of advancing in the 23rd edition of the championship.

Oman, 2009 champions, with three points from two outings are third in the four-team Group A while Kuwait are rooted at the bottom with no points to show.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who have played a goalless draw earlier in the evening, have four points each. But the Saudis head the group thanks to their better goal average.

 

Now Oman’s chances of reaching the semifinals depend on the outcome of their final group match against Saudi Arabia on Thursday. The UAE will take on Kuwait on the same day.

Against Kuwait on Monday, veteran midfielder Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ turned the hero for Oman with a cool strike after Oman earned a penalty as Khalid Al Hajri was brought down in the danger zone in the 58ith minute.

The Omani captain looked tense but eventually kept his cool to shoot the ball straight into the goal as Kuwaiti custodian Hammed Al Qallaf dived to his left.

Stung by the reverse, Kuwait pressed hard in search of the equaliser but the Omani defenceline Ali Al Busaidi, Mohammed Al Musallami, Fahmy Al Said and Saad Suhail stood solid in front of custodian Fayeez Al Rusheidi.

Earlier, the Omanis showed positive intent and played attacking game from the kick off.

Their early dominance almost resulted in a goal in the 10th minute. After a find move from the right, skipper Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’ sent in a through pass to Khalid Al Hajri but the latter was caught off-side.

Three minutes later a similar move, but this time from the left, saw Saad Suhail running into the danger zone bu the veteran winger shot into straight to Kuwaiti custodian Hameed Al Qallaf.

Saad Suhail and Mohsin Johar take advantage of good passes in the 25th and 28th minutes respectively.

But it was after the half-hour mark that Oman missed a golden opportunity when Mohsin Johar, after a move from left, shot wide from a close range.

However, Oman missed a certain goal in the 38th minute when Raed Ibrahim, after racing into the danger area from the right, and with only Hameed Al Qallaf to beat shot straight into the rival custodian’s body.

Saudi Arabia hold UAE

Earlier in the evening, the UAE had the bettter of the exchanges against Saudi Arabia but failed to translated their early dominance into goals and settled for a draw.

Saudi Arabia, who came to Kuwait with a second string side, matched the experienced UAE in the second session but neither team succeeded in launching threatening attacks and, barring a couple of chances, failed to launch threatening moves.

But the UAE did have clear look at the Saudi goal in the 11th minute with Omar Abdulrahman finding Ali Mabkhout with a measured pass but the the latter the shot the ball wide.

Half way through the session, the UAE had another opportunity when Omar Abdulrahman, taking a flag kick, floated the ball in and Mohammed Abdulrahman came up with a neat effort but the Saudis managed to clear the threat.

Twenty minutes into the second session, Saudi Arabia launched a threatening move but Salem Al Moasher wasted a good opportunity, shooting the ball wide.

For the rest of the match, both teams tried in vain to find the target.

Oman team: Fayeez Al Rusheidi, Ali Al Busaidi, Mohammed Al Musallami, Fahmy Al Said, Saad Suhail (Mahmood Al Mushaifri), Ahmed Mubarak ‘Kanu’, Hareb Al Saadi, Raed Ibrahim (Saud Al Farsi), Mohsin Johar (Yaseen Al Sheyadi), Jameel Al Yahmadi and Khalid Al Hajri

Kuwait team: Hameed Al Qallaf, Dhari Abdullah, Ali Al Maqseed, Hussain Al Shammari, Sami Al Sanea, Abdullah Al Buraiki (Faisal Ajab), Fahad Al Enezi (Mohammed Al Ajmi), Faisal Al Harbi, Fahad Al Hajeri, Redha Abujabarah (Ahmed Dhefiri) and Bader Al Mutawa.


© Muscat Media Group

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