Oman frustrate UAE in Gulf Cup football

Oman frustrate UAE in Gulf Cup football

Unspectacular start for the defending champions in Gulf Cup

By Alex Leach (Senior Reporter)

Published: Sat 15 Nov 2014, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:44 PM

Riyadh: The UAE got their defence of the Gulf Cup off to a solid, if somewhat unspectacular, start with this goalless draw against Oman at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium hereon Fridayevening.

UAE’s Ismail Hamadi (right) and Oman’s Ahmed Al Mukhime fight for the ball. — AFP

The Whites were perhaps the more dangerous of the two teams on show, but Oman held firm for a share of the spoils in what was the third successive draw in the early stages of the tournament.

Oman had the first chance of this match after six minutes. Abdelaziz Haikal needlessly gave away possession in his own half and Oman broke quickly to win a free-kick on the edge of the UAE penalty area. Ahmed Kano took the resultant set-piece and Ali Khaseif was alert to a wicked deflection to tip it over his crossbar.

The UAE eventually settled down to the task at hand though and threatened progressively more as the first half wore on.

Al Hammadi drew a smart, near-post stop out of Ali Al Habsi on 18 minutes following a one-two with Haikal on 17 minutes.

Omar Abdulrahman duly released Ali Mabkhout with an incisive through ball that he seemed set to finish off until Mohammed Al Musalami intervened with a last-ditch tackle.

It was Oman that arguably spurned the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes though shortly after the half hour mark.

Haikal dallied in possession once more, allowing Qasim Said to nip in, steal the ball and cut back for Mohammed Al Seyabi, who – with only Khaseif to beat – skied his effort harmlessly over.

That was a rare moment of attacking intent from the Omanis nonetheless and the UAE were soon on the offensive once again.

Abdulrahman clipped another tempting pass in behind Oman’s defence for Mabkhout to chase. Jaber Al Owaisi collided with Al Habsi to give Al Hammadi sight of an open goal 30 yards out, but his dipping punt dropped agonisingly off target.

Ahmed Khalil also tried his luck from distance having broken down the inside-left channel, yet his well-struck drive sailed narrowly wide of Al Habsi’s far post.

Oman thought they’d opened the scoring with a headed ‘goal’ from Said a minute after the restart, yet the strike was ruled out for a perceived push in the build-up.

Al Hammadi then forced Al Habsi into an agile, sprawling save with a curling shot before Mahdi Ali made his first substitution, bringing on veteran forward Ismail Matar for the peripheral Mabkhout.

The UAE had a strong appeal for a penalty waved away, much like Oman had slightly earlier, as Ali continued to turn to his bench options; Habib Fardan replacing Al Hammadi with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Fardan had a hand in a late glimpse of Al Habsi’s goal too when he released Khalil into the box. The Al Ahli striker should have shot, yet elected instead to square the ball across for Matar and he just couldn’t reach it on the stretch.

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