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Monday , January 30 2023

Oman edge Kuwait as Iraq qualify for semis

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Saudi Arabia bounce back, Qatar thrash Yemen

Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Buraiki (8) vies for the ball with an Omani player during the Group B soccer match between Kuwait and Oman. (KUNA)

DOHA/KUWAIT CITY, Nov 30, (Agencies): Kuwait were defeated on Saturday by reigning champions Oman in Group B match of the 24th Gulf Cup held in Doha, Qatar. Omani player Abdulaziz Al-Maqbali scored twice from the penalty area. In the first 20 minutes of the first half, the Qatari referee, Khamis Al-Merri used the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and awarded a penalty to the Omani team after a strong tackle by the Kuwaiti defender.

Before the end of the first half, at the 32 minute another penalty was given to the Omani side, ending the first half 2-0 to the Omani side. The Kuwaiti side were able to control the ball and attack more in the second half, and scored their only goal by Yusif Nasser at the 79th minute. In the second match of Group B, the Saudi Arabia bounced back from  their opening loss to Kuwait to beat Bahrain 2-0 .

 However, the Blues still have the key to qualify if only they avoid another defeat against Bahrain on Monday. Iraq scored two first-half goals to beat United Arab Emirates 2-0 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha and secure their place in the Gulf Cup semifinals. Striker Alaa Abbas put Iraq ahead in the sixth minute, and skipper Alaa Abdul-Zahra doubled their lead in the 37th.

Manager Srecko Katanec’s team, who beat hosts Qatar 2-1 in their opening game, have six points and sit at the top of Group A, three points clear of the UAE and Qatar, who thrashed Yemen 6-0 with left-back Abdelkarim Hassan scoring a hat trick. Hassan, the best player in Asia in 2018, opened the scoring from close range after 29 minutes and the Al-Sadd player doubled the lead with a goal from outside the box in the 36th.

Almoez Ali, top scorer in the Asian Cup earlier this year, made it 3-0 in the 57th minute and Hassan completed his hat trick from the penalty spot in the 72nd. Substitute Abdullah Al-Ahrak added a fifth with a long-range effort in the 85th minute, and forward Akram Afif completed the rout in stoppage time. Qatar will now meet the UAE on Monday, needing a draw to reach the semifinals along with Iraq. Yemen are bottom of the group with no points, and must continue their search for a first Gulf Cup victory.

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