The 25th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup football kicked off in Iraq on Friday, the first time the country has hosted the tournament since 1979
Iraq and Oman squared off in the curtain raiser of the 2023 Arab Gulf Cup on Friday, with both teams exchanging an equal presence on the pitch.
At the beginning of the first half, the Iraqi squad looked promising as several attackers attempted to break the Omani side’s defensive line.
Playing on their home soil for the first time in 44 years, Iraq’s squad, led by captain Jalal Hassan emerged with opportunities but lacked consistent finishes.
Closing in on the halftime, Oman’s ability to complete any touches was missing as their wingers lacked the intensity.
With zero shots on target, the Oman side concentrated on the defensive flank.
At halftime, both teams lacked the technical ability to assemble a constant play.
The game returned with an improvement on the attack as Iraq’s Aymen Hussain came close to breaking the deadlock in the 61st minute.
The Qatar Stars League club player headed in the ball but missed it merely as it passed the net.
Ultimately, man of the match, Dhurgham Ismail, struck a brilliant free-kick that hit the crossbar in the 87th minute.
The game heads toward the end without any significant moves with Iraq and Oman drawing in the opener.
Saudi Arabia dominates
Saudi Arabia kicked off the game against the Yemeni side dominating ball possession.
Minutes later, Samihan Al-Nabit opened the scoring for the Falcons after receiving a pass from Bamasud in the 18th minute.
The Saudi footballer’s early goal roused the squad as Musab Fahz Al-Juwayr nailed in an effortless penalty in the 34th minute.
Despite the challenging game from the Saudis, the Yemeni side continued to clash on the attack but made no finishes.
At halftime, the game appeared one-sided as Saad Al-Shehri’s men overwhelmed the Yemeni side, who have not been in motion since last June.
Dominating the game to a tight 80%, Saudi Arabia fired 10 shots with six on target while the Yemenis blasted seven shots with four hitting near the box.
The second half started with the Falcons bearing another attempt to the scoreboard.
A Yemeni corner was pierced in the 65th minute, however, goalkeeper Nawaf Alaqidi saved the shot despite the dangerous crack at the box.
The game concluded with Saudi Arabia on top, leaving the Yemenis taking the first loss of the tournament.