UAE Under 23 side suffer heartbreak in Gulf Cup final

The UAE's reign as Under 23 Gulf Cup champions ends as Oman hold their nerve in a penalty shoot-out in last night's final.

The UAE's reign as Under 23 Gulf Cup champions came to a heartbreaking end as Oman held their nerve in a penalty shoot-out in last night's final.

After a goalless match, Oman were on target with all four of their spot kicks while Mohammed Ali Gharib's opening shot at the goal crashed against the post and Abdulaziz Sankor sent the fourth spot kick wide on the covered pitch at the Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar.

Oman also proved their 3-2 victory over the UAE in the group phase of the competition was not a fluke, leaving Mahdi Ali's side, the most successful UAE representative team, with a lot of work ahead when they bid for place in the 2012 London Olympics.

Oman were also unlucky, hitting the post twice in either half. Abdulla Saleh's powerful strike crashed against the upright after taking a slight deflection off the outstretched hand Ahmed Mahmoud, the UAE goalkeeper, in the added time of the first half.

Waleed Al Saadi's effort from front of the goal hit the post in the 74th minute and Mahmoud did well to block a stinging shot from Saleh Ahmed early in the second half.

The UAE too had a couple of chances to break the deadlock. Ali Mabkhout's rocket off a free-kick just outside the box was pushed out by Mohannad Obaid, the Oman goalkeeper.

Ghaleb Hafez the Oman defender, made a fine clearance from the goalmouth to deny Majid Al Ahmadi scoring off a rebound when Obaid had blocked another powerful shot from Mabkhout.

Saudi Arabia edged out the hosts Qatar 2-1 in the play-off for third in the earlier match.

apassela@thenational.ae

Published: August 22, 2011 04:00 AM

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