Qatar rallied to get the better of Saudi Arabia 2-1 to win the 22nd Arabia Gulf Cup football tournament at the King Fahd International stadium in Riyadh Wednesday night. Playing in front of a capacity crowd of 75,000, Kingdom national team was off to a flying start when Saud Al Khariri gave the hosts the lead in the 16th minute when his header found the back of the net following a cross from the left.
However, their joy was shortlived as Qatar equalized a couple of minutes later in a similar fashion when Almahdi Ali Mukhtar headed in a cross from the left.
Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi netted the match winner from inside the box when his volley beat Saudi goalkeeper hands down. The Saudis tried to make a fight of it and strove hard for the equalizer but found the rival defense a tough nut to crack. To the demanding Saudi fans nothing but overall victory would be an acceptable outcome, as the country was looking to end an 11-year title drought in this biennial event.
Instead, they will have to wait for at least two more years to try and win a Gulf Cup title the Green Falcons last won in 2003.
Also, the defeat meant an uncertain future for Saudi Arabia coach Spanish Juan Ramon Lopez Caro. It was the third championship for Qatar in the history of the prestigious event.