RIFFA: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 13 January 2013
Last update 13 January 2013 1:44 am
Kuwait entered the semifinals of the 21st Gulf Cup soccer tournament when they got the better of former champions Saudi Arabia, coached by Dutchman Frank Rijkaard, by a solitary first half goal yesterday.
The match winner came from the boots of Yousef Al-Sulaiman’s, who in the 13th minute latched on to a long pass from Talal Nayef, got past a defender and placed the ball past onrushing rival goalkeeper. Kuwait needed only a draw to advance into the semifinals.
The Saudis tried hard for the equalizer in the second half and had the Kuwaiti defense under constant pressure as they attacked the rival goal. However, they failed to convert their superiority to their advantage as they either shot wide or failed to beat goalkeeper Nawaf Al-Khaldi, who had an outstanding game.
The latest setback is likely to increase calls for Rijkaard’s dismissal, since he has done little to revive a side that was once among the best teams in the Middle East. The former Barcelona coach was given a three-year deal in June 2011.
In another match, Iraq, which already qualified in Group B, beat Yemen 2-0.
Iraq topped the group with nine points, followed by Kuwait with six and Saudi Arabia with three. Yemen finished at the bottom.