UAE drawn against Qatar, Yemen and Iraq at Gulf Cup of Nations
Tournament in Doha will now once again feature eight teams after reinstatement of UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
The UAE have been drawn against hosts Qatar, Yemen and Iraq for the upcoming Gulf Cup of Nations.
The draw was remade in Doha on Thursday evening following the reinstatement the previous day of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
The decision by the three countries to participate means the tournament, to take place in the Qatari capital from November 28 to December 6, will again feature eight teams.
The UAE were drawn in Group A, while Saudi Arabia and Bahrain were placed in Group B alongside Kuwait and holders Oman.
The UAE were runners-up at the most recent Gulf Cup, when they were defeated on penalties in the final early last year. Omar Abdulrahman missed the decisive spot-kick against Oman in Kuwait having failed to score a penalty during normal time. The match ended 0-0.
The UAE have twice before tasted Gulf Cup success, first in 2007 when they defeated Oman 1-0 in the final on home soil. Ismail Matar, the tournament’s top scorer, notched the winner at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi.
The national team clinched the trophy against six years later in Bahrain, triumphing in extra-time against Iraq in the showpiece. Abdulrahman scored a memorable opener to give Mahdi Ali’s side the lead, but Iraq captain Younis Mahmoud equalised nine minutes from time.
However, substitute Ismail Al Hammadi struck in the second half of extra-time to seal a second Gulf Cup for the UAE.
Now managed by Bert van Marwijk, the UAE will use the 24th edition of the Gulf Cup to hone tactics during the protracted break in World Cup qualification. On Thursday, the national team suffered a second successive Group G defeat, losing 1-0 to Vietnam in Hanoi.
The result left the UAE third in the pool at the halfway stage, four points off leaders Vietnam. Only the top team is guaranteed to advance to the third round of qualification.
Updated: November 14, 2019 10:37 PM