Saudi Arabia and Qatar renew rivalry for Gulf Cup glory

Saudi Arabia and Qatar renew rivalry for Gulf Cup glory

This is the second time in two weeks that the teams will play each other. Only this time, the stakes will be much higher.

By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

Published: Tue 25 Nov 2014, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:39 PM

Gulf Cups:

Saudi Arabia: Three (1994, 2002, 2003).
Qatar: Two (1992, 2004).

Gulf Cup Runners-Up Finishes:

Saudi Arabia: Six (1972, 1974, 1992, 1998, 2009, 2010).
Qatar: Four (1984, 1990, 1996, 2002).

Gulf Cup Head-To-Head Record:

Saudi Arabia: Eight
Draw: Nine
Qatar: Two

Match-by-Match Scores:

Gulf Cup 1 – Bahrain: Saudi Arabia 1-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 2 – Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia 4-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 3 – Kuwait: Saudi Arabia 3-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 4 – Qatar: Saudi Arabia 0-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 5 – Iraq: Saudi Arabia 7-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 6 – UAE: Saudi Arabia 1-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 7 – Oman: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 8 – Bahrain: Saudi Arabia 2-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 9 – Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 11 – Qatar: Saudi Arabia 1-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 12 – UAE: Saudi Arabia 2-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 13 – Oman: Saudi Arabia 2-2 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 14 – Bahrain: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 15 – Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia 3-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 16 – Kuwait: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 18 – UAE: Saudi Arabia 1-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 19 – Oman: Saudi Arabia 0-0 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 20 – Yemen: Saudi Arabia 1-1 Qatar.
Gulf Cup 22 – Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia 1-1 Qatar.

Riyadh: This 22nd Gulf Cup has come full circle over the last 13 days to the extent that the first fixture that kicked off the tournament will be the final one to bring down the curtain on it.

Hosts Saudi Arabia play Qatar on Wednesday night for the second time in under a fortnight, with both sides having already met to open proceedings in Group A earlier on this month.

Back then, a tentative Saudi team were held to a 1-1 draw by Djamel Belmadi’s Qatari XI at the King Fahd International Stadium.

This time around though, there’s obviously a lot more at stake in this winner-takes-all battle and what each team has learnt about the other from that initial foray may prove pivotal in determining the destination of the much-prized silverware.

“We’re happy to have reached the final and there’s one game left for us before we can be crowned champions,” Saudi Arabia’s coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro said.

“I expect the final will be very difficult as the two teams know each other having already played against each other in the opening match of the tournament.

“We must give everything to achieve victory because the final is on our soil and in front of our fans.

“The final will be decided by small details. We have taken great confidence though from our run up to this big game and we will achieve our goal and bring delight and joy to the Saudi people.”

Caro has been repeatedly quizzed about the pressure of leading the hosts of this competition, with question marks surrounding his future should the Saudis fail to prevail in their national capital.

That is seemingly of little significance however with all of his attention and concentration on the tussle tonight.

“We don’t want to touch upon the pressure that we may be currently experiencing and we’re focusing instead only on the final and winning the cup,” the 51-year-old Spaniard explained.

“I’ve already said many times that I don’t think about my future with the national team. I care only about my job of preparing a good side that can perform to its very best in the final, so I feel I can be comfortable with my conscience and know that I’ve performed my job to the best of my ability.”

The pressure isn’t anywhere near as much for the technical staff in the Qatari camp, with their assistant manager Serge Romano quietly confident of causing an apparent upset given the way the initial foray turned out in the end.

“We met Saudi Arabia in the first match, so their team isn’t a surprise for us and vice versa and we know we have the possibility to win. That’s why we are here,” the Frenchman, 50, said.

“We know their team and it’s an advantage for us -- and them -- that we met in the first match of this competition.

“We know how we can play and our strengths and we can do well for sure. We won’t change a lot of things because it’s no good to prepare like that.

“We know our football and our tactics and we’ll play that way. We lost the first half 1-0 in the opening match, but – after that – we came back and created a lot of chances in the second half.

“Why would we change something? We have the possibility to create a lot of opportunities and that’s the way we’ll play.

“We’re confident in our football; we’ve created a lot of chances and we’re now scoring goals. That’s where we are right now and that’s why we’re confident.”

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