Said al Ruzaiqi came off the bench to score a brace as Oman national team defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0, to secure a place in the semifinal of the 23rd Arabian Gulf Cup in Kuwait. After the end of Group A matches, the Red Warriors moved to the top of Group A with six points from three matches. After a first half which was controlled by the Saudi side, Oman coach Pim Verbeek replaced Abdulaziz al Muqbali with Said al Ruzaiqi (Al Shalhoob).
This move was the highlight of the match as the Dutchman’s choice proved to be the matchwinner for the Sultanate. Al Ruzaiqi scored twice in the 57th and 77th minutes.
For the first time in the competition, Verbeek started the first half with two main strikers, which left a space in the midfield and helped KSA to dominate.
Al Ruzaiqi’s arrival after the break gave the balance to the whole Oman team.
Oman then managed the ball possession and had some good chances. In the 57th minute, Saad Suhail gave a brilliant cross to super sub Said al Ruzaiqi who fired the crowd in his debut match in this tournament.
Nothing changed after the goal, Verbeek’s men continued their good show until the 77th minute when Said al Ruzaiqi headed home from another brilliant cross.
In the other match of the group, Kuwait and UAE ended goalless. UAE qualified as the second-place team after the draw with hosts Kuwait.
Oman will wait until the end of the Group B third matches on Friday to know their opponents in the semifinal.
Qatar take on Bahrain and Iraq, toppers of the group, meet Yemen in the last matches of Gulf Cup group phase.
Jaber Al Ajmi