Saudi Arabia beat Qatar 1-0 to enter final

Saudi Arabia beat Qatar 1-0 to enter final

DOHA: Saudi Arabia overcame Qatar 1-0 in the second semifinal of 24th Arab Gulf Cup at the Al Janoub Stadium on Thursday night.

Abdullah Al Hamdan scored the all-important goal in the 29th minute to set up a showdown with Bahrain in Sunday's final (December 8).

The 20-year-old beat goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb in the air with a strong header after he connected a Sultan Al Ghannam cross from the right.

For Qatar, it was a story of missed chances that dashed their hopes against the three-time champions.

However, the hosts started with a great spirit with Felix Sanchez’s men keeping the Saudi defence under pressure in the first 10 minutes.

First, left-back Abdelkarim Hassan tested goalkeeper Fawaz Al Qarni early on with a grounded shot.

It was followed a combined effort by Abdelaziz Hatem and Karim Boudiaf on top of the box.

While Qatar was slowly getting into the groove and looked like will take the lead, Al Hamdan silenced the home fans with his effort that pinned down the hosts.

Qatar had a chance to equalize two minutes later after Saudi goalkeeper Fawaz Al Qarni failed to keep away a Pedro cross. While the keeper lunged forward and fumbled, Almoez Ali watched helplessly as the ball was cleared by the Saudi defence.

Then Abdulaziz got the opportunity to beat Fawaz, but he shot straight into him after put through by Pedro.

The second half saw Qatar create at least a dozen chances, but lack of conversion dealt a blow to their title hopes.

Saudis, who bounced into the tournament after a shock 3-1 defeat against Kuwait in their opening game, walked away with a clinical performance.

The back-line was compact, and barring some few silly errors they walked off with their heads high as Almoez and Akram Afif found it next to impossible to beat them.

Qatar fought tooth-and-nail for their elusive equalizer till the last minute. Unfortunately, all their efforts failed to dislodge the Saudi back-line as the Green Falcons entered into their 10th final. 

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