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The final: Oman vs UAE
January 3, 2018 | 1:00 AM
by Gautam Viswanathan, [email protected]
Oman facing off against the UAE would give the Sultanate further impetus to win the Gulf Cup, as they turn the tables and defeat the only team that has managed to beat them so far
 
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Kuwait City: Oman will face the United Arab Emirates in the final of the 2017 Arab Gulf Cup of Nations, after the UAE beat Iraq 4-2 on penalties in their semi-final match, following the Sultanate’s 1-0 win over Bahrain.

It is an encounter that sees both nations’ journeys at the Gulf Cup come full circle, after the two teams met in their opening game in Group A. On that day, a foul by veteran defender Ahmed Mubarak saw Ali Mabkhout score the only goal of the game from the penalty spot.

And it was UAE’s Al Jazira striker who was on target for the UAE once again. After both regulation time and extra time finished goalless, both teams’ progress would only be decided on penalties, and it was Mabkhout who stepped up first for his country, making it 1-0 to the UAE as he finished past goalkeeper Jalal Hassan.

Ala’a Abdulzahra missed for Iraq, but Saad Abdulameer made amends. However, both star midfielder Omar Abdulrahman and Khamis Esmail were accurate for the Emirates from the spot. One miss at this stage still offered Iraq a way back into the game. Two, on the other hand, certainly didn’t.



Humam Tariq missed and Amjad Attwan scored for Iraq, knowing that only a save from Hassan against Mohammed Al Menhali would suffice. Al Menhali made no mistake in converting, confirming the UAE’s place in the final, which will be held at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City on Friday, the 5th of January.

Oman, on the other hand, got to the final of the Gulf Cup after a Majid Abdul Jabbar own goal following a corner from Saad Salim, heading into his own net midway through the first half.

Oman and the UAE have previously faced each other in similar fashion: during the Gulf Cup in 2008, which was held in Abu Dhabi, Oman actually beat the hosts 2-1 in their opening game, only for striker Ismael Mattar to stroke the ball past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, off the post, to give the UAE their second championship win, in the presence of an approving Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE.



Oman facing off against the UAE would give the Sultanate further impetus to win the Gulf Cup, as they turn the tables and defeat the only team that has managed to beat them so far. The Sultanate previously won their only Gulf Cup in 2009, when the tournament came to Muscat. Ali Al Habsi’s expert reflexes ensuring the hosts beat Saudi Arabia on penalties.

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