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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oman wins Gulf Cup

January 17, 2009

Oman won a first ever Gulf Cup after beating Saudi Arabia 6-5 on penalties following a goalless draw at Sultan Qaboos Complex Stadium in Muscat.

After a goalless 120 minutes, which was dominated by hosts Oman, the first 10 penalties in the shoot-out were successful until Saudi Arabia midfielder Taisir Al Jassim sent his effort wide allowing Mohamad Rabih to seal the historic win.

Oman finished runner-up to United Arab Emirates last time out in 2007 after losing the previous final in 2004 to Qatar.

The results means that the last three Gulf Cup's have been won by the host nation.

Oman dominated the first half but failed to find a breakthrough as Imad Al Hosni fired narrowly wide after 15 minutes before Ismail Al Ajmi slammed a spectacular long-range shot into the crossbar in stoppage time with Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah stranded.

Oman, who are coached by Frenchman Claude Le Roy, remained the better side in the second half and again came close to a breakthrough four minutes before the hour mark as Hassan Rabea was denied by Abdullah.

The best chance for three-time champions Saudi Arabia came on the hour mark as former AFC Player of the Year Yasser Al Qahtani sent a powerful drive drifting the wrong side of the right-hand upright.

Oman pressed for a opener and were denied by the woodwork once again with six minutes remaining when Al Hosni slammed a header into the crossbar before the resolute Saudi defence held firm to force extra time.

Nasser Al Johar's Saudi Arabia almost snatched the lead three minutes before end of the first extra session as Naif Hazzazi fired wide before Al Qahtani was denied by Bolton goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi in the last minute of the second extra period.
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