Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain

Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Alhamddan dejected after the loss. (Reuters)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahrain's players celebrate after winning the Gulf Cup of Nations final for the first time. (AFP)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahrain's Mohamed Al Rohaimi celebrates scoring the winning goal. (Reuters)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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A young fan waves the flags of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia - the two teams playing in the Gulf Cup final on Sunday. (Reuters)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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A Saudi fan showing his support for the Green Falcons ahead of their Gulf Cup final against Bahrain. (AFP)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahraini supporters in Qatar ahead of their country's Gulf Cup final against Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahraini supporters in Qatar ahead of their country's Gulf Cup final against Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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A Saudi family showing their support for the Green Falcons ahead of their Gulf Cup final against Bahrain. (AFP)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahrain fans inside the stadium before the match. (Reuters)
Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
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Bahrain fans inside the stadium before the match. (Reuters)
Updated 09 December 2019

Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain

Heartache for Saudi Arabia as they lose Gulf Cup final to Bahrain
  • Bahrain win the event for the first time with a 1-0 victory over the Green Falcons

DOHA: Bahrain defeated Saudi Arabia in the Gulf Cup of Nations final in Qatar on Sunday, winning the event for the first time.

Mohamed Al-Romaihi scored the only goal in the 69th minute of the match at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium to seal victory in a tournament in which they have finished runners-up on four occasions.

Salman Al-Faraj blew a penalty for the Green Falcons after Mahé Al-Humaidan knocked Salem Al-Dawsari into the Bahrain penalty area.

The defeat will be a tough one for Saudi Arabia to swallow with Salem Al-Dawsari hitting the bar and Salman Al-Faraj failing to convert a penalty.

The Green Falcons had a number of late efforts as they pushed for the equalizer but Bahrain held on for the win sparking scenes of jubilation among the players and fans inside the  Abdullah Bin Khalifa stadium.

Bahrain, who last featured in a final in 2004, beat Iraq on penalties in the semifinal in a pulsating match.

Saudi Arabia beat hosts Qatar 1-0 in the semifinal on Thursday to set up their first final since 2014. 

The Saudis entered the final looking to win the biennial tournament for the fourth time. During the group stage of the competition, Bahrain had lost 2-0 to Saudi Arabia.


Klopp delighted by one of his ‘biggest nights’ as youngsters see Liverpool through

Updated 03 December 2020

Klopp delighted by one of his ‘biggest nights’ as youngsters see Liverpool through

Klopp delighted by one of his ‘biggest nights’ as youngsters see Liverpool through
  • There are not a lot of reasons to smile because of the injuries it’s tricky. Then the boys throw themselves into that game, says Klopp

LIVERPOOL: Jurgen Klopp hailed a depleted Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Ajax to reach the last 16 as one of his greatest Champions League nights given the circumstances of a lengthy injury list.

The Reds’ youngsters took their chance to shine as 19-year-old Curtis Jones scored the only goal, while Caoimhin Kelleher kept a clean sheet against the Dutch giants on his European debut.

Victory also ensures Klopp’s men win Group D with a game to spare, allowing the German to give some of his stars a much-needed rest away to Midtjylland next week.

“Honestly, since I am (at) Liverpool, for how it feels, one of the biggest Champions League nights,” said Klopp, who has guided Liverpool to two finals and won the competition in 2019.

“Without supporters in, it was the most important, the most difficult and the most exceptional game.”

Kelleher had to deputize for Alisson Becker, who added to Klopp’s long injury list before kickoff, while Andrew Robertson needed heavy strapping applied to his ankle in the first half.

Liverpool were already without Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner through injury.

“There are not a lot of reasons to smile because of the injuries it’s tricky. Then the boys throw themselves into that game,” added Klopp.

“How the kids played. Robbo with a proper knock on the ankle pushing himself through, Hendo (Jordan Henderson) with a proper knock on the back, pushing himself through. Gini (Wijnaldum) I have no words for him, Curtis Jones what a game for a 19-year-old boy. I’m really proud tonight.”

Jones has been one of the beneficiaries of those absentees with many more first-team minutes this season and came closest to breaking the deadlock before halftime when his curling effort came back off the post after just six minutes.

The midfielder was then alive to score the winner just before the hour mark when a lofted cross from Neco Williams appeared easy pickings for Ajax ‘keeper Andre Onana, but he instead tried to let the ball go behind for a goal kick and was caught out when Jones sneaked in at the back post to turn the ball into an unguarded net.

“That’s how it is sometimes, in situations where there are problems there is always an opportunity for someone else and he took it just exceptionally well,” added Klopp.

Ajax had been unbeaten in eight games since losing to at home to Liverpool in October, but they could not find a way past the inspired Kelleher.

All of the young Irishman’s previous appearances had come in domestic cup competitions and he was made to work for his clean sheet on the big stage as he flew to his left to turn Noussair Mazraoui’s long-range effort behind.

Mazraoui was denied again by Kelleher early in the second half, but David Neres should have swept home the rebound when he hit the outside of the post.

Ajax now must beat Atalanta in Amsterdam next week to make the last 16 and they were left to regret what might have been but for one moment of madness from Onana.

The Spaniard made amends with a great save to turn Roberto Firmino’s effort onto the post to keep Ajax in the game after Liverpool’s best move of the match involving Henderson and Salah.

But Kelleher produced an even better stop two minutes from time to parry Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s powerful header from point-blank range to see Liverpool over the line.

A delighted Klopp ran onto the field to embrace his goalkeeper after the full-time whistle and will hope his squad is in better health for another deep run in the knockout stages come the new year.

“You never know how a boy will react,” said Klopp. “I’m really happy with how calm he was, with how good he was.”