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Bahrain ready for Oman challenge

Mon, 01 Jan 2018
GDN Online Desk
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BAHRAIN stepped up up their preparations last night, ahead of tomorrow’s semi-final clash in the 23rd Gulf Cup.
The Bahrainis take on Oman at 5.15pm at Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium in Kuwait City.
The other semi-final is between Iraq and the UAE at 8.30pm.
After drawing with now-eliminated defending champions Qatar on Friday to book their tickets to the final four, the Bahrainis were back on the pitch training the night after and yesterday upped the tempo for their crucial final four clash.
The Bahrainis finished runners-up in Group ‘B’ behind Iraq, while Oman were Group ‘A’ winners ahead of the UAE.
Bahrain are looking to re-write history as they are aiming to secure not only their first-ever appearance in the final since the competition moved to its new format in 2004, but also their maiden Gulf Cup title.
Bahrain forward Mahdi Abduljabbar said the team has come together right on time and hopes that they continue towards achieving their peak level.
Abduljabbar celebrated his 20th birthday with the team after their Qatar clash.
Meanwhile, teammate Sayed Isa said that there have been no words to describe his joy of qualifying for the semi-finals. He also lauded Bahrain’s fans for the support to the team, which he said has inspired them to give off their best.
The national team’s best finish in the Gulf Club has been as runners-up four times in the past, including in its inaugural year in 1970, then in 1982, 1992 and last time in 2003 when the competition was played in a single round-robin format.
Oman are aiming for a second Gulf Cup title; their first was in 2009.
The UAE are gunning for a third having won in 2007 and 2013; while Iraq are hoping to clinch their fourth crown overall and first in nearly 30 years, with their last title coming in 1988.
Bahrain national team head coach Miroslav Soukup supervised last night’s training and is scheduled to speak with the media today in a pre-match Press conference.
On his part, Oman head coach Pim Verbeek was quoted as saying: “We will take one game at a time and as of now, the focus is to get past Bahrain.
“Oman has achieved more than what most expected in Kuwait. We came in as underdogs. We will go all out for a win against Bahrain and hopefully the boys can deliver. There are no more easy games. Each team is getting better.”

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