Qatar clinch Gulf Cup for third time
RIYADH: Qatar on Wednesday stunned hosts Saudi Arabia 2-1 to win the
Gulf Cup for the third time after a heroic battle at King Fahd
Saudi Arabia took the lead through Saud Kariri in the 16th minute but
Qatar hit back just two minutes later through Al Mahdi Ali.
In a spectacular effort in the second half, Khouki Bualem deflected a
ferocious volley past Saudi Arabi goalkeeper to score the winning goal
in the 58th minute.
Qatar’s last Gulf Cup win came in 2004 when they beat Oman in Doha. Qatar’s
first win came in 1992 when they beat Bahrain in the final.
Wednesday’s final was played at a packed King Fahd International Stadium
as coach Djamel Belmadi switched to 4-3-2-1 format.
Both sides had played out a goalless draw on November 13 but Qatar
triumphed with a gutsy performance on Wednesday.
This was Belmadi’s second major trophy win after guiding Qatar A to
WAFF triumph in Doha earlier this year in January.
Qatar made a slow start to the tournament, failing to win a match at
the group stage, but hit form with a 3-1 win in the semis against Oman
before capturing the title.
The entire football fraternity of the region was in attendance at King
Fahd International Stadium.
Qatar’s next assignment will be the 2015 Asian Cup in January, when they face
UAE, Bahrain and Iran in the group stage.