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Saudi Arabia beat Oman to keep Gulf Cup hopes alive

© Reuters 2002

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Jan 27 - Saudi Arabia kept their Gulf Cup hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Oman on Sunday and must now beat Qatar in their last match to win the tournament.

Hassan al-Yami fired home the first goal in the 11th minute, while substitute Abdullah al-Wakid completed the scoring on 79 minutes as the hosts took their points tally to 10 from four matches, just two behind leaders Qatar. If the World Cup finalists fail to win on Wednesday then Qatar will be crowned champions of the six-nation tournament.

A relieved Saudi coach Nasser al-Johar, who attributed the win to good team work, said: "We did make some mistakes, and I hope to correct them before our final match against Qatar". He also praised the Omanis for a fine performance.

"Omanis have improved a lot over the years and they some very talented players," he said. Earlier, an injury-time strike by forward Salman Eissa gave 10-man Bahrain a hard-fought 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain, who have four points from as many matches, were reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute when Saudi referee Yousuf al-Ageely sent off goalkeeper Abdul Karim for tripping Hayder Ali. But UAE failed to take exploit their advantage.

Bahrain had taken the lead through Hussain Ali in the 38th minute but UAE, who were more organised in the second half, equalised through Abdul Rahman Ibrahim who converted a free kick with a powerful right-foot shoot in the 77th minute.

Bahrain saw off a late rally from UAE before scoring the winner through Eissa. "The victory was important for us," Bahrain coach Wolfgang Sidka said. "We were a bit unlucky to get a red card, but what can be done," he said.

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