Oman won the Gulf Cup for the second time in history when they beat UAE 5-4 via penalties in a dramatic final at the Jaber International Stadium in Kuwait yesterday.
The win was an apt reward for Oman who were the most consistent team in the 23rd edition of the prestigious regional tournament which was shifted to Kuwait from Qatar after its international football ban was lifted by FIFA a few weeks ago.
The victory triggered off enthusiastic celebrations in Oman where men, women and children took to the streets in the capital Muscat and other cities, waving their national flag and flashing the victory sign.
Thousands of Qataris also celebrated on Doha Corniche to express their support for Oman which had been defying pressure by Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain and standing by Qatar during the ongoing illegal blockade.
“We are very happy for the Omani team. They showed they can beat any team in the region by winning the Gulf Cup,” said Ahmed, a 21-year-old Qatari student.
Former Asian footballer of the year Omar Abdulrahman was the villain for UAE as he missed two penalties – one in regulation and one in the tie-breaker to hand Oman victory.
The teams adopted a conservative approach during the initial stages of the match but it was Oman who created more chances as they went close a couple of times midway through the first half. But Fahmy Saeed and Ahmed Mubarak couldn’t make good of the opportunities as they misdirected their headers.
In the third minute of the second half, Jameel al-Yahmadi almost scored past UAE goalkeeper Khaled Eissa when after a dazzling run he shot from a tight angle only to see the ball graze the post.
A couple of minutes later, UAE’s Abdulrahman went agonisingly close with his header as Oman survived a scare.
UAE could have nailed the trophy a few minutes from time when they won a penalty after Ali Mabkhout was pushed from behind inside the box. But Omani goalkeeper Fayez al-Rashidi produced an excellent save to block Abdulrahman’s shot.
The extra time also failed to break the deadlock following which the match went into penalties. However, Abdulrahman again missed his penalty much to UAE’s agony and Oman’s joy.
Qatar Football Association wins Golden Excellence Award
Qatar Football Association (QFA) received the Golden Excellence Award yesterday after being named as best Gulf sport federation during the a ceremony organized by the Gulf Sports Media Association (GSMA) on the sidelines of the Gulf Cup, which included yesterday in Kuwait.
The awards ceremony was organised at the conference hall of Sheraton hotel in Kuwait and was attended by Gianni Merlo, the President of International Sports Press Association (AIPS) along with senior Gulf sport officials.
The GSMA also granted the best sport commentator award to the late Qatari commentator Mohamed al-Lenjawi along with Kuwaiti Tarek al-Mulla and Oman's Ahmed al-Ajmi.
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