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Saudi get the better of Oman; Bahrain shock Kuwait for semis clash vs Iraq

Saudi get the better of Oman; Bahrain shock Kuwait for semis clash vs Iraq

Ayeni Olusegun
Doha
Bahrain sealed a spot in the Arabian Gulf Cup semi-final after a 4-2 victory over 10-time champions Kuwait at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday courtesy Thiago Augusto’s late two goals.
Kuwait had started the tournament with stunning 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia but lost the second match to Oman.
In the other Group B match, Saudi Arabia cruised to a 3-1 win over defending champions Oman at the Al Duhail stadium to qualify top of the group. The win mean the The Green Falcons will take on hosts Qatar in the semi-final on Thursday, while Bahrain will take on Group A leaders Iraq.
“Fantastic game from our players and we came back to doing what we are used to. We had one bad game but we recovered and played a compact game. We created many chances today but we must be more efficient. I think we were the best team.
“Iraq is a fantastic team and they have been showing their quality. We are building a team that can fight in matches like this and we will fight for a win against them to get to the final.
“We have played against them recently and it was good. We must take the moment to keep growing up and it’s good to play teams who make us better,” Bahrain coach Helio Sousa said after the match.
The fast-paced match saw both teams create chances and Yusuf al Sulaiman missed a clear chance to put the 10-time champions ahead but the striker scuffed his header wide with no Bahrain defender near him.
Kuwait were tidy in possession but Bahrain kept them at bay. The Bahrainis however, got the opener just before half time when Ali Madan beat the offside trap making no mistake with a clinical finish to the bottom corner.
The goal rattled Kuwait and they soon gave away the ball in midfield but goalkeeper Hameed Yousef produced a stunning one hand save to deny Komail al Aswad.
Kuwait came out swinging in the second half and Bahrain goalkeeper Sayed Abbas had to be alert to the ball after a goal mouth scramble almost caught the defence napping.
The record champions got the equalizer through Youssef Nasser in the 59th minute from the penalty spot. Jassim al Shaikh brought down Redha Abujabarah in the box with the Kuwaiti player through on goal.
Yousef thought he had put Kuwait in the lead in 65th minute but referee Ammar al Jneibi ruled out the effort after consulting VAR which penalised Yousef for a foul in the build-up.
Al Shaikh made up for his penalty blunder to put Bahrain ahead in the 69th minute when his effort from just outside the box skidded past the outstretched Yousef in goal.
Both sides were guilty of missing chances as Kamail Alaswad snapped his shot wide before Kuwait’s Amer Alfadel blazed his effort wide from a good position.
A swift move almost extended Bahrain’s lead but Thiago Augusto drilled narrowly wide. Thiago soon put the game to bed seven minutes before time when he turned in Al Shaikh’s inviting cross.
Kuwait responded immediately as Ahmed Zanki’s low shot found the bottom corner six minutes from time.
But it was a little too late for Kuwait and Thiago ensured Bahrain’s status when he slotted home after a quick break to put the match beyond the record holders in added time.
“Congratulations to the four teams in the semis, they deserve it. Today we had to make forced substitutions due to injuries and playing every two-three days demands a lot from the players. I’m responsible for the defeats and I must say I’m satisfied with the players’ performance and I hope to do better in the future,” Kuwait coach Thamer Enad said.

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