Qatar crowned Gulf Cup champions after downing hosts Saudi Arabia

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A superb second-half volley from Boualem Khoukhi was enough to see crowned champions after their 2-1 defeat of .

Al-Annabi had a chance to take an early lead and silence the capacity crowd inside the King Fahd Stadium, but Karim Boudiaf’s volley flashed just wide.

Less than ten minutes later, fans packed into the stadium erupted when veteran Saud Kariri gave the home side the lead, heading home from Nawaf Al-Abid’s corner.

Their joy was short-lived, however. At the other end, just two minutes later, it was Almahdi Ali who headed home at the near post to equalise for Qatar, just the defender’s second goal for Qatar.

Saudi Arabia should have re-taken the lead five minutes before half time when a deflected pass fell perfectly for Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored the decisive goal in the semi final, but he put his shot wide, much to the relief of those in maroon.

Just before the hour mark Qatar were awarded a free kick just inside their own half, which Hassan Al-Haydos floated into the box. An attempt to head the ball clear failed, falling perfectly for Khoukhi who duly smashed home what would turn out to be the game-winner between the legs of goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah.

Al-Dawsari again came within a whisker of equalising when his cross took a small deflection, catching Qasem Burhan wrong-footed at the near post, but the ball ricocheted back off the post and Qatar cleared.

With 15 minutes left to play Qatar should have had a third after a corner was flicked on at the near post. Ibrahim Majid found himself unmarked at the back post but his acrobatic effort was skied over the crossbar.

It almost came back to bite just minutes from full time when Salman Al-Faraj went down in the box after appearing to have been fouled by Mohammed Musa, but the referee waved play on, much to the frustration of Al-Faraj.

Qatar survived and now head in to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in just six weeks time full of confidence. Their third Gulf Cup triumph was their first not won as a host nation, following successes in 1992 and 2004.

It also caps a fantastic year for Qatari football after winning the 2014 West Asian Football Federation Championships in January and their U19 side were crowned Asian champions.

After the match Saudi Arabia’s Nawaf Al-Abid was named tournament MVP, while the UAE’s Ali Mabkhout was awarded the Golden Boot for his five goals.

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