Bahrain to face Saudi Arabia in Gulf Cup final
December 7, 2019 | 9:00 PM
by Times News Service
- Supplied picture

Doha: Bahrain will face Saudi Arabia in a David vs. Goliath game in the final of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup, which will take place in Doha at 8 pm on Sunday evening.

Bahrain beat Iraq in the semi-finals of the competition, which is being held in Doha, but needed penalties to defeat them, after the match had finished 2-2 at the end of extra time. Mohanad Ali opened the scoring early for Iraq, after just six minutes, following which Abdulla Al Haza’a equalised for Bahrain eight minutes later.

Ibrahim Bayesh made it 2-1 to Iraq shortly afterwards when he scored in the 18th minute, but the Bahrainis hit back through Mohammed Marhoon at first half stoppage time, when he fired home the equaliser.

Despite four goals in the opening half, there were none in the second and after extra time also ended goalless, penalties were required. It was Mohammas Qassem, the man whose brace felled hosts Qatar in the opening game of the Gulf Cup, who missed his penalty for Iraq, after Ibrahim Bayesh, Dhurgham Ismael and Ali Atia had all scored for them.

Five spot kick takers

All of Bahrain’s five spot kick takers – Mohammed Al Hardan, Jasim Al Sheikh, Mohammed Marhoon, Thiago Augusto and Ali Madan successfully converted their penalties.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia – along with the UAE – decided to attend the Gulf Cup following a second invitation from the organisers, having declined to participate when initially invited to Qatar. They seem to be making the most of their time in the competition, and will be glad they decided to come.

Saudi Arabia beat hosts Qatar 1-0 in the other semi-final at Al Janoub Stadium. Despite the Qataris taking 21 shots towards goal, only two of them were on target, as compared to the Saudis, who only took four shots on game, with three of them being on target.

Iraq has also won the tournament thrice, as have Qatar, while the UAE and Oman have both won it on two occasions.

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