Oman 1-0 Bahrain: match report
Oman sneak into the Gulf Cup final for their first appearence in the final since 2009 thanks to a first half own-goal with Al Jabar heading past his own keeper to settle the tie.
Bahrain started the game slowly and invited Oman onto them before that goal and while Oman were far from exceptional, they took what was given to them in terms of possession and space out wide.
After the goal, Bahrain sprung to life and attacked their opponents' goal to the point of exhaustion. They tried long balls, short ball, crosses, dribbles into the box and everything in between but Oman survived.
They are the first team in the final to take place on January 5th in Kuwait City.
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The first and last time they won the tournament was 2009 and they are trying to double their number of titles with a win over Bahrain.
They topped their group with two wins and one loss, to UAE, who will be playing later on in the other semi-final on Tuesday. They beat Saudi Arabia in the final group game 2-0 and also beat Kuwait 1-0. The only time their defence was breached was against UAE.
Said Salim was the hero in that final game against Saudi Arabia with two goals off the bench. It will be interesting to see whether Dutch manager Pim Verbeek selects him after what was an excellent and tournament-saving performance. Ahead of the semi-final, Verbeek said: “We will take one game at a time and, as of now, the focus is to get past Bahrain.”
Bahrain will be relying on 29-year-old Jamal Rashed to supply the goods as he has in the group stages with two goals in three games.
Miroslav Soukup’s side made their way to the semi-final thanks to a 1-1 draw in the last game that sent the 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar, crashing out of the tournament.
Bahrain’s best finish in the tournament is as a runner-up, a feat they have managed four times - 1970, 1982, 1992 and 2003 and they will be hoping to go one better this year, starting with the semi-final in Kuwait City against Oman.