Al Nasr survive penalty shootout to enter Arabian Gulf Cup final

Victory over Kalba secures second straight final berth

Al Nasr’s Diaa Saabia, left, is challenged by Kalba’s Majed Almherzi in the Arabian Gulf Cup second leg semi-final at the Ittihad Kalba Stadium on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Courtesy PLC
Al Nasr’s Diaa Saabia, left, is challenged by Kalba’s Majed Almherzi in the Arabian Gulf Cup second leg semi-final at the Ittihad Kalba Stadium on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Courtesy PLC

Al Nasr made it to their second successive Arabian Gulf Cup final with victory over Kalba in a penalty shootout after the tie – over two legs – ended in a 3-3 deadlock at the Ittihad Kalba Stadium on Tuesday.

Brazilian Tarik Oliveira, who came in as a late substitute, fired the winner after Kalba’s Fahad Sabeel sent his effort wide as Nasr took the shootout 7-6.

Kalba entered the game having won the first leg 2-1 but first half strikes from Diaa Saabia and Ryan Mendes put Nasr ahead 3-2 on aggregate.

Kalba’s Togolese forward Peniel Mlapa forced the game into a penalty shootout when he scored off a spot kick eight minutes from time.

Earlier, Saabia’s free kick touched the fingertips of Kalba goalkeeper Jamal Abdulla and ricocheted off the crossbar for Mendes, who was quick on the ball, to head it into the back of the net for a 39th minute lead.

Saabia then turned from creator to scorer when he picked up a pass from the Portuguese midfielder to fire in a powerful left footer from outside the area to double the lead shortly before half time.

The home side put more pressure on Nasr and twice came close to scoring. Ahmed Amer’s right-footed drive was pushed away by Nasr keeper Ahmed Shambih and Abdul Salam Mohamed headed the rebound wide.

In the final stretch, Kalba were awarded a penalty following a VAR review for a foul by Nasr defender Mohamed Ayed, which Mlapa converted to take the game into the tiebreak.

Published: March 2, 2021 09:27 PM

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