Iraqi players celebrate after defeating Qatar in Doha. AFP
M Qasim scored a brace to steer Iraq to a comfortable win. He opened the scoring in the 18th minute and doubled the lead with another superb strike in the 27th minute to extend the lead to 2-0.
Qatar tried hard to cut the deficit but failed to penetrate the tight defence of Iraq as the first half-half ended with a score of 2-0.
But Qatar finally succeeded in the breaking the deadlock, four minutes after the break, to curtail the lead and make it 2-1. But Iraq went into the defensive mode and did not allow the hosts to restore parity and finally emerged winners.
Meanwhile, Kuwait coach Thamer Enad said Gulf championships have not abandoned their traditions and were always pressured by the momentum that accompanies them.
Thamer congratulated, at the beginning of his talk, the Saudi Club Al Hilal for winning the Asian Champions League where he described this victory as a pride for the Gulf and all Arabs.
“We started the preparations in a foreign camp and then played the West Asian Championship and then played several games in the Asian double qualifiers. We are ready for the Gulf Cup which has no specific standards and we expect it to be difficult for everyone, as usual.”
On the first Gulf championship as coach of the Blue, he commented: “I am in front of a great responsibility and contemporary Gulf tournaments as a player, assistant coach and a coach and I know a lot about it is hidden.
“It is very difficult off the pitch because of the privacy that no one is unaware of, and this is a wonderful feeling to contend the tournament this time as a coach for the Kuwaiti team.”
He continued: “Gulf championship started before the whistle of referees and this is the nature of the momentum that accompanies them as you can see now in the press conference – a championship that makes everyone lives under great pressure.”
The UAE maintained solid defence, which the Yemenis failed to thwart despite couple of attempts.
Qatar faces Iraq at Doha's Khalifa Stadium at 1630 GMT in the tournament opener.
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