Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The Qatar coach Bruno Metsu aims to be the first coach to win back-to-back Gulf Cup titles with two different teams.
The Qatar coach Bruno Metsu aims to be the first coach to win back-to-back Gulf Cup titles with two different teams.

Metsu geared up for Saudi test

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are headed for an intriguing showdown tonight in Group B.

MUSCAT // Qatar and Saudi Arabia are headed for an intriguing showdown tonight in Group B. Both teams are still in the running for a place in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - and their encounter could provide the fireworks of the night. Bruno Metsu, who led the UAE to their historic Gulf Cup triumph two years ago, is attempting to become the first coach to win back-to-back titles leading two different teams.

The Frenchman was given a rude welcome to his job as the Qatar coach. His side suffered two heavy defeats in the 2010 World Cup qualifier in his first two games in charge, Australia drubbing them 4-0 and Japan running out 3-0 victors. But Metsu has got them playing well in their warm-up friendlies, particularly the last game, in which they were impressive 5-2 winners with Libya. And he would like to see a similar performance against the Saudis tonight to launch Qatar's campaign for a third Gulf Cup.

Qatar have a host of foreigners in the line-up and the Asian Player of the Year nominee Sebastian Soria stands out. The striker could be the danger man. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, have had their problems and their coach Nasser al Johar, who has been in and out of the job, wants to leave on a high after the Saudi Federation indicated he would quit at the end of the Gulf Cup. The Saudis are the strongest team in the competition, on paper, with a Fifa ranking of 48, yet they have only won the Gulf Cup three times, the last two back-to-back in 2002 and 2004.

Al Johar's men haven't been as impressive as their tonight's opponents, held to a 1-1 draw by Syria in the lead up to the competition but his team, traditionally better tonight. apassella@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Ahli's Ismail Al Hammadi, left, battles for the ball during the Arabian Gulf Cup final between against Al Jazira at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on April 19, 2014. Al Hammadi hit the game-winner in the 81st minute for Ahli. Al Ittihad

Al Ahli maintain course for domestic treble with victory over Al Jazira in Arabian Gulf Cup

Al Ahli maintained their hopes of a domestic treble with a superb comeback victory against Al Jazira in the Arabian Gulf Cup final on Saturday night.

 Yuzvendra Chahal, centre, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore teammates celebrate after the bowlers set up an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Pawan Singh / The National

Bowlers set up Bangalore as Patel stand tall over Mumbai

Mumbai bowlers gave early hope but Parthiv Patel and AB de Villiers' unbeaten stand of 99 ensures second defeat for the men in blue in Dubai.

 Roelof Kotzee is leading UAE to unchartered territory. Sarah Dea / The National

UAE step into the unknown ahead of Asian Five Nations

Performance manager Roelof Kotze will give 12 players their first experience of international rugby, but there is also minimal information on Singapore ahead of first Test in Dubai on Wednesday, reports Paul Radley.

 Manuel Pellegrini believes Manchester City have the ability to bounce back from recent defeats to win the Premier League title. Andrew Yates / AFP

Pellegrini certain Manchester City will take title race down to wire

As his side host West Brom in a must-win match, the manager is banking on other teams dropping points in the last few weeks of the Premier League title race.

 Novak Djokovic of Serbia winces in pain during his semi-final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 19, 2014. Federer prevailed to set up an all-Swiss final with Stanislas Wawrinka. SEBASTIEN NOGIER / EPA

Ailing Djokovic will ‘just rest now’ while Nadal not pressing the panic button

Djokovic says only rest will help is injured right wrist after he falls to Roger Federer on Saturday, and Nadal suffers just his third career defeat in Monte Carlo when he slumped to a shock 7-6, 6-4 quarter-final loss to compatriot Ferrer on Friday.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National