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Gulf Cup: Qatar stun Saudi Arabia in Riyadh

Khoukhi's second half strike hands Maroons 2-1 win for third Gulf Cup title

Riyadh: Qatar stunned Saudi Arabia 2-1 in Wednesday’s Gulf Cup final at the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh to win their third title and their first outside of Doha.

Boualem Khoukhi volleyed the winner just before the hour after Almadhi Ali quickly cancelled out Saud Khariri’s first half opener.

Saudi Arabia had won eight to Qatar’s two in 19 previous Gulf Cup encounters, but the last five meetings had ended in a draw, including the opening game of this tournament played just two weeks ago, which finished 1-1.

Saudi Arabia’s Saud Khariri headed in Nawaf Al Abed’s corner on 16 minutes but Qatar responded almost immediately with Almadhi Ali heading in Hassan Khaled’s corner two minutes later.

Qatar keeper Qassem Burhan denied Omar Othman’s long shot and Salem Al Dawsari struck wide from Al Abed’s through ball as Saudi went in search of a second. But both sides went in at the break level.

Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi then volleyed in Khaled’s freekick just before the hour to put the Maroons in front.

Dawsari replied by hitting the post just after the hour, after a tight angled cross struck from a run down the wing.

Qatar struck two efforts over the bar before Saudi had a late call for penalty denied when Mohammad Moosa was alleged to have caught Salman Al Faraj in the box. But in the end Qatar held on for the win.

Qatar got this far having beaten Oman 3-1 in the semi-finals after finishing second in Group A with three draws over Saudi 1-1, Yemen 0-0 and Bahrain 0-0.

Saudi, meanwhile, topped Group A with a 1-1 draw over Qatar and two wins over Bahrain 3-0 and Yemen 1-0, before beating defending champions UAE 3-2 in the semi-finals.  

In some consolation for third placed UAE, Al Jazira striker Ali Mabkhout won the tournament’s Golden Boot with five goals.

Saudi Arabia’s Nasser Al Shamrani, Nawaf Al Abed and Qatar’s Ali Assadalla – all on two goals before the final - were the only players still able to overtake Mabkhout.

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