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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Al Shabab edge Al Seeb in penalty shoot-out to win GCC Clubs trophy

Salem Abdullah, the Al Shabab goalkeeper, was the hero in a penalty shootout that ended with his team returning home from Oman with the GCC Clubs Championship trophy.
Al Shabab celebrate winning the GCC Club Final Cup Match, between Al Shabab and Al Seeb in Oman. May 27, 2015. Courtesy: World Sport Group
Al Shabab celebrate winning the GCC Club Final Cup Match, between Al Shabab and Al Seeb in Oman. May 27, 2015. Courtesy: World Sport Group

Salem Abdullah, the Al Shabab goalkeeper, was the hero in a penalty shoot-out that ended with his team returning home from Oman with the GCC Clubs Championship trophy.

Abdullah might not always look like he has the safest hands in the business, but he made two brilliant saves in the shoot-out to help Shabab, the 1992 and 2011 champions, edge Al Seeb 4-3 on penalties.

The teams, who met in the group stages of the tournament for 3-1 and 4-0 victories to the UAE side, had finished 1-1 at the end of regulation time, with Henrique Luvannor opening the scores in the 83rd minute only to see Haitham Al Maharami grab the equaliser for the hosts in the third minute of added time.

This was Shabab’s first title triumph since their 2011 success in the same tournament, but they will have little time to celebrate as they face Al Nasr, the 2014 GCC champions, on Saturday in the semi-final of the President’s Cup.

“We knew it was not going to be an easy match,” said Carlos Villanueva, Shabab’s Chilean playmaker. “We knew we will come here and face a very difficult game.

“Seeb were playing at home, in front of their fans, and the pitch was also not in a great condition, which did not help our style of play.

“We should have got the job done in regulation time, but unfortunately we conceded a goal in the final minute of play. But at the end of the day, we are the champions and we deserve to celebrate, but only for tonight.

“Tomorrow, we need to forget about this and focus on the next match against Al Nasr.”

Luvannor, who received the man of the match award on the night, shared Villanueva’s sentiments. “We are the champions and I am really happy I could help my team tonight,” he said.

“However, tomorrow we need to forget about this game and think about the next game. I don’t think I am only speaking for myself when I say we want to win the President’s Cup. Every player on this team wants to win the President’s Cup as well, so we are going to put the celebrations aside and make sure we are completely focused on the next match.”

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