Reda Saleem (Dubai)
The Saudi national team is sticking to the fine thread to qualify for the golden square in the “Gulf 25” after losing to Iraq in the second round of Group A with two goals without a response, a loss that put the “Al-Akhdar” players before one option, which is to beat Oman in the last round to cross into the semi-finals. While a tie or loss knocks the team out of the tournament, as it retreats to third place in the group standings with 3 points from the victory over Yemen.
The loss comes to the owners of the land for the second time, after losing with the same score in “Khaleeji 5” at the Al-Shaab International Stadium in Baghdad in 1979, and the tournament was held in a one-round league system.
The history of “Al-Akhdar” in the Gulf Cup tournaments reveals the loss to the owners of the land and the public in 6 copies of the tournament, as the first loss was in the fourth Gulf Cup in 1976, against Qatar with a score of 0-1, in the opening match of the tournament, which was held in a one-round league system. And the second in “Gulf 5” in 1979 against Iraq with a score of 0-2, and the third in “Gulf 6” in 1982 against the Emirates with a score of 0-1, and the fourth against Bahrain in “Gulf 8” in 1986 with a score of 1-2, and the fifth against Oman in «Gulf 19» in 2009 in the final by penalty shootout, then losing in the current tournament.
Saad Al-Shehri, the coach of the Saudi national team, described the confrontation as being like a beach soccer match after the rain water flooded the ground of the Basra International Stadium. The field, and I do not blame the players, most of whom participated in winning the AFC U-23 Cup, and they have the skill that the field did not help them implement.
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