x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Saudis to face Oman in final

Saudi Arabia will face the hosts Oman in Saturday's final of the Gulf Cup after securing a 1-0 victory over nine times champions Kuwait.

MUSCAT // Saudi Arabia will face the hosts Oman in Saturday's final of the Gulf Cup after securing a 1-0 victory over nine times champions Kuwait in last night's second semi-final at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex. The Saudis were the favourites going into the last-four clash and advanced thanks to a 64th minute goal from Ahmed al Furaidi after good build up play from Tayseer al Jassim. Nasser al Johar's men were made to earn their place in the weekend's showpiece match after comfortable victories over Yemen and the UAE in their previous matches. Nevertheless, the result was enough to set up a mouth watering clash with Oman, who are looking for their first ever regional crown after reaching the final in the last two competitions. Claude Le Roy's men will also be hoping history can repeat itself with Qatar and the UAE winning the last two Gulf Cup titles as hosts. Saudi Arabia had the better of the exchanges throughout the game and they were unlucky when Ahmed Utaif's rocket in the 18th minute crashed against the crossbar after a faint touch from the goalkeeper Nawaf al Kaldi. Abdulla Jamaan wasted a chance from inside the box and Abdulla al Dossari's shot was tipped over the bar by al Kaldi as Kuwait just about survived the first half onslaught. Kuwait had a golden opportunity to go ahead just past the hour-mark, but Mesaad al Enzi blasted over the crossbar. It proved a costly miss as the Saudis moved the ball quickly up the other end to score. The Kuwait coach Mohammed Ibrahim made a double change in a bid to bring more attacking options to his side with Walid Juma and Ali al Maqsid, but it made little difference against a solid Saudi defence, who are yet to concede a goal. A feat only matched by Saturday's final opponents Oman.

apassela@thenational.ae