AL AIN // The Iraq manager Jorvan Vieira was unhappy that he had been unable to give his squad a decent time to prepare before Saturday's 2-2 match against the UAE. "We have a good team but the problem is to get them together," said the Brazilian after the 2-2 draw at Al Ain's Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium "This has been our problem for a long time and continues to persist.
"My players are based in different countries and I don't have much time to prepare them for a competition." Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's poor run of form ahead of the Gulf Cup continued when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Syria in a friendly at Prince Mohammed bin Fahad Stadium in Dammam. The Saudis, strong contenders to lift the trophy, were beaten 1-0 by Bahrain last week and failed to see off Syria yesterday.
Saudi Arabia took the lead on 22 minutes when Osama Hawsawi headed home a corner but Syria levelled five minutes into the second-half through Raja Rafe. The Saudis, who play in the UAE's Group B at the Gulf Cup. alongside Yemen and Qatar, kick off their campaign in Oman against Qatar on Jan 5. Bahrain have suffered a blow after midfielder Rashid Al Dossary was ruled out of the tournament through injury.
The Muharraq midfielder, 33, a key player for his side, tore back muscles in training last week. * With agencies