Monday, March 20, 2023 | Sha'ban 27, 1444 H
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Oman chase win against Saudi to seal semis


Doha: Oman will chase a win in their crunch match against Saudi Arabia at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Monday to ensure a spot in the semifinals of the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup. In the other Group B final round match, Kuwait will take on Bahrain at Khailfa International Stadium. Both matches will start at 9 pm (Oman time). All the teams in Group B have chances to advance to the semifinals. A draw or win will guarantee Oman's place in last four. The Red Warriors stand a chance if they lose against Saudi Arabia provided Bahrain draw with Kuwait or beat them and Oman have better goal average. Opponents Saudi Arabia registered a strong come back as they blanked Bahrain 2-0 to take the first three points. Oman have four points with a draw against Bahrain and win against Kuwait.


Oman head coach Erwin Koeman said the focus is to maintain the fitness of the players during the short break available. “We have only one day break. Normally, the players get three days to play the next game. However, we have players who used to play after one-day rest." The 51-years-old said he will decide the starting list on Monday. "We target a win against Saudi Arabia, who are tough opponents." In the last Gulf Cup in Kuwait, Oman beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the last round of the group stage matches. Said al Ruzaiqi netted both goals. “We had two changes in the line-up of the team in the second game. We played differently. Now we are focusing to prepare ourselves to be in best shape for tomorrow’s game. I watched different videos of Saudi team and I know what to do,” the Dutchman added. Top scorer of the last edition of the Gulf Cup, Said al Ruzaiqi, said the game will be tough against Saudi Arabia. “We are fully ready for the challenge. I believe there is no pressure on us. I am fully fit to play in the match. Anyway, it is the coach's decision,” Al Ruzaiqi said.


Saudi Arabian coach Herve Renard said the team will go for a win. “The team is able to do better in the previous game of the group. We need more focus and discipline in the field." "Against Bahrain, it was good comeback by our players after the first defeat. Oman are defending champions and their confidence is high. They played very well in the first half against Kuwait. The second half was difficult to them. Our target is to beat them,” the 51-year-old added. Renard affirmed that they did not fear any team but they respect all the teams. “Oman are group leaders at present. We have chances to win and I used to be in same situation where we get one chance to win or got out. We have the capability to get a win against Oman," the French coach said. Saudi’s Mohammed al Khadrani said the match will be keenly fought. "Our aim is to collect the winning points. It is not an easy game. Oman is a disciplined side but we are ready for the challenge as well,” he added.


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