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Qatar snatch late draw to enter semis

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Qatar booked their spot in the semifinals of the 25th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup after they ended their match against UAE in a 1-1 draw in the concluding round of Group B matches at Al Mina’a Stadium in Iraq’s Basra city. The draw enabled Qatar to reach to four points and placed them as second in the group behind group toppers Bahrain.

The latest Fifa World Cup organisers began their campaign in the Gulf Cup strongly with a 2-0 win over Kuwait while they suffered a 2-1 loss in their following game against defending champions Bahrain. Qatar will meet hosts Iraq in the semifinal on Monday.

Despite UAE team received two defeats in their previous matches against Bahrain and Kuwait, they entered the match with a winning target same as opponents Qatar. Both teams were seeking for an opening goal to be more confident in the game.

UAE players pressed hard in the beginning of the match. The first scoring attempt came in the 9th minute of the first half by UAE’s Canedo who entered the box. Then, he faced Qatar’s goalie Meshal Barsham who saved Canedo’s strong ball perfectly. Both teams' defences were very strong and managed to break all the scoring attempts.

Qatar’s Amro Seraj tried to break the deadlock from a free kick with a long distance ball but his shot was saved by UAE keeper Khalid Eisa in the 35th minute. After eight minutes, Eisa saved another scoring attempt of Qatar by Khalid Muneer, who hit a strong shot from outside the box. The first half ended with a goalless draw.

In the second-half, coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena's men pressed hard to register the opening goal through series of attempts but Qatar’s goalie Barsham saved all the attempts.

Referee Ali Subah checked VAR in the 63rd minute for a penalty possibility and he decided penalty for the UAE. However, Canedo hit the side post from the spot kick. Few minutes later, UAE’s Fabio Delima broke the deadlock to register the opening goal after a perfect pass from Canedo in the 77th minute.

Qatar players re-organised their discipline in the field and started to create more scoring chances in search for an equaliser to revive their hopes for reaching the semifinal.

After several chances, Tamim Mansoor Miftah boosted Qatar’s hopes as he scored in the 88th minute with a right-footed kick from inside the penalty box. Qatar defended the draw in the rest of the period to book the second ticket of the group to the semifinals.

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