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The New Arab

UAE to meet Oman in Gulf Cup final, as Muscat erupts in celebration

Oman are through to the finals of the Gulf Cup [AFP]

Date of publication: 3 January, 2018

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Oman beat Bahrain, while the UAE saw off Iraq, in tense semi-finals games of the Gulf Cup on Tuesday, as Muscat saw big celebrations.
It will be an Oman-UAE final in the 23rd Gulf Cup in Kuwait, after two hard-fought semi-final games on Tuesday. 

The day started with a clash between Bahrain and Oman. Bahrain are only one of two Gulf nations to never lift the cup, while Oman have reached the final four times but only won the Gulf Cup once. Both teams were determined to make this their year. 

Fans packed the Jaber al-Ahmed stadium for the clash between the two sides who share the nickname The Reds.

Oman pressed forward in the first-half with Bahraini keeper Sayed Alawi making several important saves for his team.

In the 29th minute, Oman went 1-0 up when Bahrain's Mahdi Abduljabbar headed in an unfortunate own-goal.

The second-half saw Bahrain going all-out on the attack, but the Omani defence held strong and ended the game with a win and booked a place to Friday's final.

Big celebrations continued in Muscat throughout the night. They hope The Reds will replicate their 2009 success, which was a crowning sporting moment for the country.

Later in the eventing, the UAE met Iraq to see who would play Oman in the finals. In one of the hardest-fought games in the tournament, with end-to-end football throughout the game. Missed chances, determined defending and brilliant goalkeeping saw the game end 0-0 after 90 minutes.

Extra-time ended without a goal and the game went into penalties. Alaa Abdul-Zahra stood up to take Iraq's first penalty but the shot was saved Emirati keeper Khalid Eisa.

From there, Iraq were under pressure and when Humam Tariq missed his penalty it was all over the Lions of Mesopotamia.

The UAE and Oman will play in the finals on Friday in a replay of the 2007 final when the Emirates team won the game.

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