Saudi Arabia end UAE's brave Gulf Cup run
UAE 0 // Saudi Arabia 1
Saudi Arabia Abbas 55’
Man of the match Mohammed al Salhoub (Saudi Arabia)
A 55th-minute strike from Ahmed Abbas was enough to end the UAE's unexpected run in the 20th Gulf Cup.
The UAE team, missing many of their key players, were unbeaten while winning Group B and advancing to the last four - where they found the Saudis to be one goal better last night in Aden, Yemen.
Saudi Arabia now meet Kuwait, who edged out Iraq in a shoot-out, in the final on Sunday.
After a cautious and drab first half, the Saudis stepped up their attacking play on the resumption and were rewarded when they scored from a defensive error.
Tayseer al Jassim stole the ball in midfield, before sending Abbas through alone against Majed Naser, the UAE goalkeeper, who had no chance of stopping a shot from eight yards.
The Saudis continued to apply pressure after taking the lead. They created more chances and could have won by a bigger margin if not for some good work from Naser between the posts.
Mohammed al Salhoub came twice close to extending Saudi Arabia's lead. His free kick from outside the box swerved wide of the UAE goal on the hour mark and a second from a similar spot was pushed away by Naser, the Al Wasl stopper.
Mohaned Aseri's header from the ensuing corner crashed against the crossbar.
The UAE rarely penetrated the Saudi defence and the only occasions when they threatened were the few free kicks that Subait Khater took.
A couple of them fell just wide and one was pushed out by the goalkeeper.
The closest anyone came to breaking the deadlock in the first half was from a Saudi corner, when a header from the striker Mohanad abu Radiah's flew over the crossbar.
* With agencies