Group B: Kuwait stun Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman draw
Doha: Kuwait enjoyed a bright start to their 2019 Gulf Cup campaign with a 3-1 victory against Saudi Arabia at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium on Wednesday.
Defending champions Oman were held to a goalless draw by Bahrain in the other Group B match with both teams failing to put away their chances.
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Saudi Arabia 1-3 Kuwait
Despite playing without seven Al Hilal SFC players due to their late arrival in Doha, Saudi Arabia had the upper hand in the opening period and nearly opened the scoring in the 29th minute but Sultan Al Ghannam sent his effort into the side netting.
Four minutes later, Kuwait goalkeeper Hameed Yousef blocked Feras Albrikan's shot from point blank range.
Kuwait stunned Saudi two minutes before the break, as Bader Al Mutawaa's lob was finished by Ahmad Al Dhefeery's left-footed shot past Saudi goalkeeper Fawaz Alqarni.
Kuwait's joy doubled in the first minute of added time with Al Mutawaa again the architect as he sent a long pass to Sami Al Sanea (pictured above), who beat the offside trap, evaded the goalkeeper and fired into an empty net.
Head coach Herve Renard made two changes at half time, but the Saudis had to wait till the 72nd minute for a clear shot at goal but Saud Abdulhamid sent his effort from inside the area over the crossbar.
Kuwait sealed the points with just seconds of regulation time remaining, as Mobarak Al Faneeni broke clear and scored from an acute angle.
There was to be a late consolation for Saudi Arabia, with Feras Albrikan scoring in the sixth minute of added time.
Oman 0-0 Bahrain
The match saw a slow start with defending champions Oman having their first look at goal in the 30th minute, as Al Mandhar Al Alawi tested Sayed Shubbar with a powerful shot, which the Bahrain goalkeeper blocked with his legs.
Bahrain had a chance of their own in the 38th minute when Komail Alaswad had a shot from outside the area but Oman goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi was in the right place to collect the ball.
Oman applied more pressure in the second half and came close in the 52nd minute but Shubbar parried Muhsen Al Ghassani's effort.
Bahrain upped their tempo and came close in the 74th minute but Rusheidi blocked Komail Alaswad and Mohamed Marhoon's efforts before the crossbar came to his aid five minutes later with the goalkeeper well beaten by Mohamed Alromaihi's attempt.
Oman play Kuwait on Saturday while Bahrain will face Saudi Arabia.
Group B: Oman 0-0 Bahrain; Saudi Arabia 1-3 Kuwait.
Friday - Group A: UAE vs Iraq; Yemen vs Qatar.
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