Ali Mabkhout gives UAE winning start at Gulf Cup

Al Jazira man's penalty enough to give Alberto Zaccheroni's men a 1-0 triumph over Oman in Group A.

Emirates' Ali Mabkhout (R) celebrates after scoring during their 2017 Gulf Cup of Nations football match between UAE and Oman at the Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad Stadium in Kuwait City on December 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE
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Ali Mabkhout's penalty was enough for the UAE to get their Gulf Cup campaign off to a winning start in Group A as they defeated Oman 1-0 on Friday night at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium.

Omar Abdulrahman floated a free kick inside the area and Mabkhout chasing the ball was tripped by Oman’s Khalid Al Hajri to earn the spot kick, which the Al Jazira forward netted in the 28th minute.

Alberto Zaccheroni's side were the better side in the first half and Mabkhout fired wide a good chance to double the lead before the interval.

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Oman were improved in the second half and Qasim Sand went close, before the Omanis did find the net, only for it to be disallowed for offside.

The UAE held on though to take the three points and they next face Saudi Arabia on Monday, who were also victorious on Friday as they beat tournament hosts Kuwait 2-1.

Salman Al Moashir put them ahead on 13 minutes and Muktar Falata doubled it seven minutes into the second half.

Kuwait pulled one back through Abdullah Al Buraiki on the hour and they pressed hard for the equaliser, but the Saudi defence stood strong.

On Saturday, Qatar play Yemen in the Group B opener and Bahrain meet Iraq in the late game.