Iraq edge Qatar and Oman defeats Bahrain to qualify for final of Gulf Cup

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BASRA, Jan 16: Iraq qualified for the final of the 25th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup, after defeating Qatar 2-1 on Monday. Ibrahim Baish broke the deadlock in 19th minute, but the hosts lead did not last long as Qatari’s Amr Siraj scored the equalizer few minutes late. Iraq increased the tempo after Qatar equalizer but were wasteful in front of goal on numerous occassions. Ayman Hussein gave Iraq the lead and the winning goal in the 43rd minute to delight of the vociferous home crowd.

Qatar’s Khalid Muneer, (center) fights for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup’s semifinal football match between Iraq and Qatar at the Basra International Stadium in Basra, Iraq. (AP)

The final match will be held next Thursday, January 19th. The 25th Gulf Cup, currently held in Basra, has helped in strengthening Iraqi-Gulf relations, Iraq Foreign Ministry stated . A symposium was held on Sunday, at the ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad, under the title (Foreign Policy and Sports Diplomacy, Sport is a message of peace and affection among peoples) Organizing the 25th Gulf Cup in Basra is an entry point to strengthening bilateral relations between Iraq and the Arab Gulf states, constituting an additional factor that contributes to strengthening Iraq’s political position in the Arab, regional, and international communities, and provides it with horizons, noted the statement. Participants indicated to the efforts made by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry to make the tournament a success, as it facilitated the entry of Arab sports fans into Iraq.

The symposium was attended by the heads of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Youth and Sports Committee of the Iraqi Parliament, ambassadors and heads of missions from several GCC states and Yemen.

Meanwhile, seven people were killed and 30 others injured in a road accident of a bus carrying Iraqi football fans to Basra to attend 25th Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament. A medical source spoke to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), saying that the bus collided with a large truck in Dhi Qar Governorate, northern Basra, adding that passengers were transported to Souq Al-Shuyukh public hospital to receive treatment. Head of the Iraqi football federation Adnan Darjal expressed in a statement his solace and condolences to families of the victims.

Meanwhile Oman qualified for the final of the Arab Gulf Football Championship (Gulf 25), after defeating Bahrain 1-0 in the semi-finals. Oman’s only goal was scored by Jamil Al-Ahmadi in the 83rd minute. Oman will meet Iraq in the final of the (Gulf 25) championship on Thursday at the Basra International Stadium. (KUNA)

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