Iraq beat title holders Kuwait for semifinals
MANAMA (dpa) – Iraq clinched a place in the semifinals of the Gulf Cup of Nations on Wednesday after beating title holders Kuwait 1-0 – their first win against their longtime foes in 25 years.
The last time the Lions of Mesopotamia had defeated Kuwait in the tournament was back in 1988.
Hamadi Ahmad scored in the 29th minute in Manama, making Iraq the second team to secure a place in the semi-finals after the United Arab Emirates.
Saturday’s match between Kuwait and Saudi Saudi Arabia will decide which of the two will join Iraq in the semi-finals.
Kuwait have won the tournament a total of 10 times, while Saudi Arabia won it three times.
In Wednesday’s other match, Saudi Arabia defeated Yemen 2-0, meaning Yemen now have no chance of progressing despite still having to play Iraq on Saturday.
Despite the win, the Saudi team, coached by Dutch legend Frank Rijkaard, produced a disappointing performance.
There are a total of eight teams split into two groups competing in the 21st edition of the Gulf Cup of Nations, which is being held in the Bahraini capital.
Launched in 1970, it is not officially recognized by the ruling football body FIFA. But the tournament has nevertheless risen in stature to become the oil-rich region’s key competition.