Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Asia: Kuwait ready to defend Gulf Cup in Bahrain

Posted in Asian Football by peterbein on January 4, 2013

Kuwait won the Gulf Cup for a record tenth time in 2010

The 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations kicks off this weekend in Bahrain with the tournament hosts getting things under way on Saturday facing off against Oman in the opening match. Defending champions Kuwait, who are hoping to win the tournament for a record extending eleventh time, will get their campaign under way on Sunday against Yemen.

Kuwait’s victory in the 2010 tournament was the first time they had won the trophy for twelve years, a substantial drought given that they had previously been so successful in a competition which began in 1970. Their narrow 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia in 2010 was sealed in extra-time thanks to midfielder Waleed Ali, leaving many Kuwaiti football fans to hope of a return to the days of dominance they enjoyed before 1998. Kuwait won the first four editions of this tournament from 1970-76 and went on to win it another five times in the next 22 years. From 1998, however, Saudi Arabia enjoyed a brief period of success winning back-to-back titles in 2002 and 2003. Qatar enjoyed home success in 2004 before a pair of first-time champions – namely United Arab Emirates and Oman – hoisted the trophy aloft in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Kuwait’s win in 2010 was a huge relief to the nation but it also brings back the pressure of defending the title, something which they will begin to do in Group B along with Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Bahrain are tournament hosts swapping the role with Iraq who are now expected to host the event in 2015. This is the fourth time that Bahrain will host the event, following on from the 1970, 1986 and 1998 tournaments, and on no such occasion have they ended up as champion. Indeed, out of the eight participants featuring in the Gulf Cup, only Bahrain and Yemen have yet to emerge victorious in the history of the competition. The hosts will feature in Group A with Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates making up the rest of a potentially tight group.

The group stages will finish on January 12th and will then see the top two of each group meet in the semi-finals three days later. Finals day comes on January 18th with a third/fourth place play-off beginning proceedings in Isa Town before the final match takes place in the Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa.

Asia: Bahrain leave it late to secure first Arab Games title (video)

Posted in Asian Football, International Football by peterbein on December 24, 2011

Bahrain have won the Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan Arab Games football tournament in Qatar.

Bahrain had qualified for the final by virtue of topping their group in the first stage, defeating Iraq and gaining a much needed point against Qatar, before eliminating Palestine in the semi-final ahead of yesterday’s final match. Jordan were Bahrain’s opponents in the final and they had qualified by finishing top of their group with five points from three games, defeating Palestine 4-1 in their opening group match before two goalless draws against Sudan and Libya followed. Jordan needed extra-time to get past Kuwait in the semi-finals and thus set up the game against Bahrain.

The game looked to be heading for extra-time but was decided as late as the 89th minute with Ismail Abdul Latif taking advantage of a defensive lapse in the game’s dying moments. The win sealed Bahrain’s first ever triumph in the Pan Arab Games football tournament.

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