Oman 0-0 UAE 2017 Gulf Cup final: Oman win it on penalties
Oman* 0-0 UAE (5-4 penalties): match report
Oman sealed victory in the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup on Friday with victory over the UAE in Kuwait City. The game, played between two tired and wary sides, was a suspenseful affair that went all the way to penalties with just one kick of a football seperating the sides when it was all said and done.
Football is cruel and unrelenting sport. This we know but to suggest the way United Arab Emirates lost the Gulf Cup final in Kuwait City on Friday afternoon was harsh would be to undersell just how crushingly disappointing it was. Omar Abdulrahman, their best player in the tournament, is the man who will have long sleepless nights after a couple of missed penalties in this one despite his excellent performances throughout the tournament.
It was a cagey affair, as expected, with UAE failing to reall trouble Oman, who were far more ambitious over the course of the 120 minutes. The eventual losers did not score from play in the competition with their only goal and win in the group stage coming via a penalty in the first game against, ironically, Oman.
It was the UAE who looked like stealing the win from under their opponents' noses at the end of 90 minutes when Ali Ahmed Mabkhout was bundled over in the penalty area only to see the referee point to the spot.
Abdulrahman stepped up and saw his effort saved by Faiyz Al Rashidi, with fate suggesting this one was always destined to go to the distance.
It did go all the way too despite some late scares for UAE as Oman started to slowly and creatively open up their opponents' last line.
All four of the penalties for either side were scored before Abdulrahman stepped up to shoot towards Al Rashidi again from 12 yards and into the same goal. He went the opposite way as his first penalty but so did the keeper and rejected him again as the player, who was of interest to Manchester City in the past, stood staring into the middle distance, cursing his luck.
Mohsin Al Khaldi stepped up to win it for Oman and he made no mistake with a perfectly placed penalty into the top corner for the win. It is Oman's second Gulf Cup title with their last coming in 2009. They also got the chance to exact revenge on the UAE having been pipped at the post by their rivals in 2007 in the ultimate game of the tournament.
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The final of the Gulf Cup takes place on Friday afternoon at 15:30 CEST from Kuwait City's Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. In a repeat of 2007's final, which was won by UAE thanks to an Ismail Matar goal, the two sides have beaten all comers and will lock horns in the finale of the tournament.
Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have all ben eliminiated, and we are down to two with Oman aiming for their second victory - 2009 - while UAE look to make it a hat-trick of Gulf Cup trophies in the last 10 years - they won it previously in 207 and 2013.
Oman snuck into the final thanks to a own goal by Mahdi Abdul Jabbar of Bahrain in the semi-final's first half. The UAE and Oman have played 32 times, with 15 wins for the UAE and 6 for Oman. They have tied 11 times.
UAE striker Ahmen Khalil has warned his side of what are Oman's greatest strengths, "It’s true that we won the first game, but they are so strong, they are fast, they play very well on the counter-attack. We have to concentrate. We have to continue like this, we have to work. It’s just one game.
"We hope every player takes this point: that it is a final, that it’s not the same as every game. We have to do all our best and come back to our country as the champions.”
United Arab Emirates
The two sides met earlier in the competition with UAE scoring their one and only goal in the tournament, a penalty, when they defeated their Friday finalists. They went on to beat Iraq on penalties in the final but have not proven to be an exciting, attacking side - that won't bother them if they can win the trophy, however.
So excited are the UAE that, The Ruler of Sharjah on Thursday has announced that six planes will be dedicated to fly out fans of the UAE’s national football team to catch the final game of the Arabian Gulf Cup with fans receiving free tickets to Kuwait City.
"The final is a very important match. It will be such a strong game. We have prepared well for this game and I am confident that we will win," said manager Alberto Zaccheroni during a press conference.
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