Kuwait make losing start, Qatar bounce back – ARAB TIMES


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BAGHDAD, Jan 7: Record Gulf Cup champions Kuwait suffered a 2-0 opening loss against Qatar on Saturday. Qatar still reeling from a disappointing World Cup campaign, took an early lead in the 23rd minute through Surag. Alaaeldin increased their tally from the spot kick. Kuwait increased the tempo after the second goal but were denied on numerous occasions by the goalkeeper.

Bahrain begun their title defense with 2-1 win over UAE. Kamil Al-Aswad opened the scoring in 60 while Jassim Al-Sheikh doubled the defending champions advantage in 77th minute. UAE scored the consolation goal in injury time through Sebastián Lucas Tagliabúe. Saudi Arabia’s edged their neighbors Yemen 2-0. Saudi’s midfielder Smayhan Al- Nabit broke the deadlock in the 18th minute. Museb Al-Juwayr scored the Saudis second from the spot kick a penalty . The result puts Saudi on top of Group A, with Iraq and Oman tied in second, while Yemen have 0-points.

Iraq drew with Oman 0-0 in the opening game of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup in the southeastern city of Basra on Friday evening. The Group A game, aired live by Al-Iraqiya Sports TV channel, was less exciting and below the expectations of the Iraqi soccer fans. Meanwhile,Iraqi Interior Minister Abdul-Amir Al-Shammari said Saturday the Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sudani directed that a comprehensive probe into, and analysis of, all incidents that accompanied the opening ceremony of the Arabian Gulf Cup 25.

Al-Shammari had held several meetings with governor of Basra, the commanders of Basra operations, and other security leaders to review all matters and find solutions to them, according to Iraqi News Agency. Al-Shammari noted that the Ministry of Interior conducted a complete reorganization of the security plan, review of traffic to and from the stadiums. Al-Shammari referred to the reinforcement of the stadium security force in different numbers from the capital, Baghdad, pledging that the things that happened at the tournament’s opening ceremony would never be repeated in the upcoming matches. In another development,Iraq Football Association (IFA) expressed Saturday its regret to the Kuwaiti delegation for being unable to attend the inauguration ceremony of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup due to stampede that occurred in front of the stadium in Basra City.

In a statement, the association expressed its great sorrow over some unorganized matters during the inauguration ceremony in Basra City. Head of IFA Adnan Darjal apologized to the Kuwaiti delegation for obstacles that prevented it from entering the stadium. Thus, Sheikh Fahad Al-Naser, representative of His Highness the Amir and head of the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee, and head of Kuwait Football Association and members left. Darjal voiced sorrow over the stampede that happened in front of the stadium, stressing that the IFA and those responsible for organizing the event will take into consideration making all things in good shape. What has happened will not affect the deep-rooted relations between Iraq and Kuwait, he affirmed, also noting that the Kuwait Football Association has supported greatly holding the championship in Basra City. He urged audience to continue providing necessary support to make a successful championship that will help the country host sports events after a long period of suspension. (KUNA)


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