Kuwait, dec 26 – Oman national team revived their hopes of qualifying for the semifinals of the Arabian Gulf Cup, after they edged hosts Kuwait 1-0 in the Group A match, held at Jaber International Stadium on Monday. The Red Warriors now have moved to the third place in Group A with three points, behind UAE and Saudi Arabia who have four points each after they drew with each other 1-1. Oman now will need to beat Saudi Arabia to qualify for the semifinal. Khalid al Hajri atoned for his mistake against UAE for causing the penalty, by earning a penalty that was converted by Ahmed Kanu in the 58th minute.
Oman national team manager Pim Verbeek expressed his satisfaction in the post match press conference.
He said: “It was a very exciting game and I’m very satisfied with the three points and the performance my players showed.”
“As I said in the previous conference it is a difficult game, both the teams fought until the last minute to deserve the three points,’’ he added.
As far as the reason for the transformed performance of the team was concerned, Verbeek said: “Its the full teamwork, especially the medical staff who prepared the players physically in a fantastic way as well my coaching staff who prepared everything in terms of the tactics, and the boys were so eager to win they were fighting from the beginning until the end,’’ the former Australia coach added.
“I’m very happy with the way we controlled the game today, I’m more than happy that we survived in the last 15 minutes because Kuwait played low goals,’’ the Dutchman said.
After the game, Verbeek exclusively told Oman Daily Observer about his conservative style although he comes from a background of very attacking football.
He commented that: “The solution depends first on the fitness of the players, as well the availability of the players, finally when you play three games in such big tournaments and in a very short time you should focus first on the defensive organisation that’s what every team is doing, clean sheets and from there you can use the qualities you have with Jamil, Raed and Khalid and this what we tried,’’ he added.
“I think at the end if the players were not so tired we could’ve scored the second goal.”
Despite the victory against Kuwait, Oman national team will have to defeat the Saudis in the last round to qualify for the semifinal. The game against Saudi Arabia will be played on Thursday, while Kuwait will face UAE at the same time.
UAE, Saudi stalemate
Meanwhile, UAE and Saudi Arabia shared points after playing out a goalless draw in the first game of Monday.
Jaber Al Ajmi