KUWAIT: Oman were crowned the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup champions after beating the UAE 5-4 in penalty shootouts in the final, played in front of a capacity crowd at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium. But the award ceremony was marred when a glass barricade shattered after Omani fans rushed to greet their national team players, who had approached the stands. Between 20 and 30 fans were reportedly injured after falling to the ground, but no serious injuries were reported. They were rushed to Farwaniya Hospital.
Earlier, Oman’s goalkeeper Fayez Al-Rusheidi blocked UAE midfielder Omar Al-Amoodi’s penalty shot in regulation time and again in the penalty shootouts to help his team win their second Gulf Cup after their victory in the 19th edition that the sultanate hosted in 2009. Both teams failed to score in regular time, sending the match into extra time, which also ended goalless. Oman dominated most parts of the match, having more possession and being more dangerous to the UAE net.
But the most dangerous opportunity in the match came for the UAE when the referee called for a penalty kick in injury time. But Amoodi, considered one of the tournament’s best players and among the region’s most promising talents, failed to convert as Rusheidi was able to block his shot.
Play had started slowly, and the first real scoring opportunity came in the 15th minute when Oman’s Jameel Al-Yahmadi’s header went above the post. Play went back and forth in the next 15 minutes, with Oman taking slight advantage in possession, before the UAE started attacking more and taking some control to close the first half.
The second half started with a rise in tempo pace from both teams. Oman’s Ahmed Al-Jneibi fired a shot that missed the target five minutes after play resumed, and the UAE went immediately for a counterattack that ended with Amoodi’s shot going off target. The pace slowed down significantly after 20 minutes of back-and-forth action, and no serious threats were seen until the penalty shot in injury time. The extra period ended with no real chances at both ends.
Both teams managed to convert their first four penalty kicks, before Rusheidi blocked Amoodi’s shot. Mohsin Al-Khaldi then scored for Oman, giving his time the victory and sending fans into a frenzy.
By Ahmad Jabr