Late strike gives Kuwait win over Iraq, UAE draw with Oman

Kuwait's players celebrate after defeating Iraq during their Gulf Cup football match at the Prince Faisal bin Fahad Stadium in Riyadh on Nov. 14, 2014. (AFP)

Fahad Alenazi curled a last-gasp winner into the net to give Kuwait a 1-0 win over Iraq in their opening Gulf Cup Group B clash on Friday.

The game looked to be headed for the fourth consecutive draw in the tournament but Alenazi scored from the edge of the area to secure the points after holders the United Arab Emirates drew 0-0 with Oman in the earlier match in the section.

On Thursday, hosts Saudi Arabia and Qatar kicked off the event with a 1-1 draw before Yemen held Bahrain 0-0 in Group A.

Iraq's American-born Justin Meram came close to scoring on more than one occasion on his international debut.

Miram, who plays for MLS side Columbus Crew in the United States, almost found the net in the last action before halftime when his shot was cleared off the line by defender Hussain Fadhel with Iraq appealing in vain for a penalty for handball.

"I don't know if it touched my hand or not. I could not feel that. I think it has touched my chest but I am not sure", Fadhel told Reuters.

Miram almost scored with his first touch after the break but his effort was tipped onto the post by keeper Nawaf Al Khaldi.

Alenazi, who was the best player when Kuwait won the Gulf Cup for the 10th and last time in 2010, came close to putting his side in front before his powerful shot secured the win.

The first match of the day between the UAE and Oman finished goalless but Oman thought they should have had a penalty when Abdulaziz Al-Muqbali was brought down in the first half.

"I am okay with the result, I am only frustrated with the bad decision of the referee as we should have got a penalty, and I think it is a huge mistake and we have to be aware of that," Oman coach Paul Le Guen told a news conference.

"It is 100 percent a penalty. It is a strange decision. I don't know how to explain it because the referee was very close", he added.

The UAE had won five consecutive matches to claim the title in 2013 in Bahrain.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45