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The UAE enter a tough challenge tonight in the 15th Gulf Cup as they face hosts and best favourites, Saudi Arabia in a match that means a great deal for both.

The UAE, with three points from two matches, are concerned with changing the poor impression they left after their two first matches despite their victory in their first match against Oman with a single goal scored by Hayder Allo Ali.

Their second encounter against Qatar was disastrous resulting in a 0-2 defeat and a sending off of the team's libero Fahad Ali.

Jo Bonfrere, the caretaker coach of the team, had been under criticism for his changes in the line up and strategy using midfielders as strikers which resulted in the team scoring a single goal in two matches and failing to create decent scoring chances up front, especially in the last match.

Changes in the line up that started both matches are expected today after their failure to rise up to expectations, even of their coach.

Injury might force the technical staff to use reserve custodian Mohammed Ali Gholom, who made his debut against Qatar after Hussain Ali limped out. He was training alone and might not be able to take part today.

Fahad Ali will leave his central defensive place to either Abdul Rahman Ibrahim or Mohammed Qasim with experience favouring Ibrahim to be first choice while Abdul Aziz Al Anbary is expected to return to his usual playmaking role leaving his attacking place to either Mohammed Omar or Yasir Salim to play alongside Hayder.

The Saudis, with four points from two matches are becoming the hot favourites to win the title after Kuwait lost all hope to defend their title having lost seven points from three matches.

The Saudis, playing at home, are the best team in the region at the moment with their Asian and international football achievements that include three successive World Cup finals and five successive Asian Cup finals with three titles.

The Saudis are, yet, regarded lucky to have won four points after escaping defeat in the opening match against Kuwait and winning all three points, instead of only one against Bahrain. Their coach, Nasir Al Jawhar have been criticised widely by the Saudi sports media for using wrong players in wrong places.

The Saudis might miss the services of their talented striker Al Hassan Al Yami, who was injured against Bahrain and was absent form his team's training since the match.

But the substitute bench of the team is full with outstanding players like Marzoug Al Otaibi, Tilal Al Mishaal and others who can easily fill the open place of Al Yami who scored two goals against Bahrain and created the goal against Kuwait.

The two teams met 12 times in the tournament since the UAE first took part in 1972. The Saudis won six times and drew three scoring 18 goals and conceding 10.

The UAE have the upper hand in the last twenty years since they hosted the sixth Cup in 1982. In eight encounters since then, the UAE have won three and drew two scoring eight goals and conceding six. Their last encounter in Riyadh in 1988 ended in a 2-2 tie.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Saudi Arabia 1 Abdullah Al-Jamman 1
UAE 0
Halftime: 1-0; Attendance: 17,000

Saudi's Goal

So the Gulf Cup is now between Saudi and Qatar. The 3rd place spot is wide open between the other 4 teams :cool:
 

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i saw some parts of the match only..

UAE tried, but Saudis were still better

but don't hate me when i say that we have a chance to win against Saudis!! :cool:

ya ya, i know we lost terribly against Qatar, but u'll see! ;)

hmm i have to say that i'm a BIG FAN of Sami Al Jabir.. i admire this guy! he is doing a lot for the Saudi team and being the real leader

Saudis deserved to win from what i saw..

it'd be exciting watching how they'd compete with Qataris for the title :)
 
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UV333 said:
hmm i have to say that i'm a BIG FAN of Sami Al Jabir.. i admire this guy! he is doing a lot for the Saudi team and being the real leaderB]

*Cough* *cough*...erm Vamps, Yasir i think this fine young lad makes a valid point, don't you think? :lala:
 

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Our performance was somewhat better especially at the back. However, it was embarrassing seeing us defend with nine players in the second half.

UV333, yeah baby! Sami all the way :D :cool: :cool:
 

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this match make me feel sleepy :(
Mubara mumilla, mata nshoof mubara zai ennas :confused:
wash feehom ma esajloon agwal :depress:

any way we gain 3 points and thats the target.
 

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Adel,

Come on! we played like crap! if this is the form we will take to the WC, we better not go! :mad:

Jam3an had 9 shots, 8 were off target! he has no idea what team play means. Dokhi is extremly useless, his positioning is all wrong and can't even make a single short pass! this was abseloutly discusting to watch :yuck: when will the praise-even-when-we-are-abseloute-crap stop! :frustrat:

A very frustrated fan right now!
 

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Nero said:

*Cough* *cough*...erm Vamps, Yasir i think this fine young lad makes a valid point, don't you think? :lala:
VALID MY *** :D :tongue: (bas 3ashaanak ya Nero).. :)

Seriously.. he's been playing well lately (Again, not to the way the media sometimes make it seem).. But I'm with Vamps on our total performance... It was boring and very predictable..

As for Abdulla Al Jam3an.. well.. I hope they lift the "you-must-pick-7-Hillali-players-in-the-starting-line-up" rule from the coach so we can see some decent football.. For 3 games now.. we've seen dodgy defending.. and No change to the starting back 4!! Omar Al Ghamdi has simply added NOTHING in 2.5 games.. yet he still gets the nod!! Abdulla Al Jam3an was worse than anything I can think of.. When did this guy stop being a kicker in American Football and turn to soccer??!! He was looking to break the number of field goals instead of scoring goals!! I was sick to see Al Yami brought off instead of him!!

Ok.. we're winning.. but the coaching hasn't been breath taking.. especially when it comes to substitutions.. and for a nation that should be more concerned with performance over results.. being 2nd after 3 games isn't that great..

I guess the only bright side is.. since the fans aren't pleased.. that the streets aren't going nuts after every win here in Jeddah :D
 

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Oh come one you guys....Saudi Arabia, with all due respect, is nothing but one major lucky team! I mean UAE should have ateast scored an equaliser! Moh'd Omar is gonna hear alot from the UAE press when he gets back!!

But there again..its the score that counts!
 

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Ya.. I agree.. Saudi are lucky..

But I can't compliment UAE on their performance either.. the game was a pure bore.. and Just as Mohammed Omar will get a roasting.. our version of Emile Heskey.. a.k.a Abdulla Al Jam3an should get a roasting too!! :mad:
 
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v:>23 said:
Oh come one you guys....Saudi Arabia, with all due respect, is nothing but one major lucky team!
Ya ame, it's called the luck of Champions :strong:.
 

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Mo,

I didn't say we played well. All I said is that there was a "slight improvement" in the defense than the previous two matches.

It's crap all right, but a better looking crap:D :D :D

Seriously, We have never played well in the GC. Never! Even the one we won. Maybe some of you are young, but back in the eighties, Saudi fans were baffled by the fact that our NT can win Asian cups with great performances and then roll over and die in the Gulf cups. It was not luck or something like that. We simply play awful in them. To me it's a mystery, it goes far beyond coaching and player selection.

The WC, however, is another story and I'm pretty sure that the starting 11 will be much different than this one.
 

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Bring on Germany, Cameroon and Ireland. With this kind of quality we can take them all on. :tongue: :D

Adel,

Improvement or no improvement, this defense is still one of the worst defenses we've had since the 80s.

As for our history in the GC. This view is fairly new. Up until the nineties the quality of the top teams in the gulf cup were quite similar; they were all just as inconsistent as the other:

Kuwait wins Asian cup in 1980 and qualifies to Spain82 then Saudi wins singapore84, then Iraq qualifies to Mexico86 then Saudi wins Qatar88 etc..

Only recently has Saudi become consistently more successful than the rest.

The fact is, the GC is tailor made to expose the inconsistency in the form of the participating teams, and we've never been able to hold our nerve.

As for the squad in KJ02, I hope you're right. Because, if I see Omar al Ghamdi, Abdallah alJamaan, al Mohammedi, and Ahmad Khalil in the starting lineup when people like Sheehan, Noor, Khilaiwi, Basim alYami, Obeid alDossary, and Khalid Gahwaji are not even in the squad I will wash my hands from this team.
 

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Hi HiJazzey..

Well by now I guess we can all be a bit realistic.. as some of the names you've mentioned will get as close to the Saudi NT shirt as I will!! Al Gahwaji will never play for the NT.. a) He's not from Al Hilal and b) The toungue incident with Abdulrahman bin Saud was the final nail in his international career's coffin... I don't think Mohammed Noor will be called up either...

Personally, I think this formation IS the one we'll be seeing with some "fine tuning".. Al Sheehan will return to start for Al Yami (who they'll bench by using the excuse "He's injured" or "not at full fitness").. Al Shalhoob might figure for al Mohammadi.. if they are smart.. they'd go back to Hussein Abdul Ghani for Al Sagri.. and that's it.. I think Basim al Yami will make the squad.. but due to the "maximize the number of starting Hilalis"rule.. he won't be starting!! :depress:

Al Mohammadi is good.. but he's still too young and raw.. the same does go for AL Jizani.. I think it was a big mistake leaving Obaid out.. and now they can see why..

Personally, I don't care a bit about who wins the GC.. as clearly the tournaments importance is fading every year.. and ESPECIALLY with a WC around the corner... I was hoping he'd try a few players.. and make a shuffle with tactics and players a bit more... cuz in friendlies.. our players play as if they're enjoying a spa or something!! so a competetive game like this is really his only chance!!
 

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Guys,

Good points raised. I think its fair to say our NT stands up when it counts most, and to be frank, i could care less about the GC (actually, i CAN'T care less as i don't give a rats a*s about it!) ;)

BUT, it is very alarming because we know this is a test ground, and seeing Johar stick with some of this crap is alarming. We all know the Hilal syndrome, but come on, its the WC! we need our best team out there!!! :frustrat:

Now, as Yasir said, Gahwaji sadly won't make it, even though on talent, he is the best in the nation. He might not start (and defintly not in this world cub group, very physical teams), but he can change a game with a single play, no body does it better.

I doubt Noor will make it, though no question he is better then Omar Al Ghamdi.

So not counting these two, the question is how will Johar fit all those Hillalis? seriously? We all know now Sami plays better behind the strikers...but where will that put Nawaf? if Nawaf plays right midfield, how can you fit Matter into the formation (having three attacing minded midfielders - Sami, Nawaf and Matter would be risky) not to mention who will play on the left? in my mind, Saad Al Dossary wins this argument. He is great in short passing, good long shots and physical. Shalhoob will be broken to pieces and won't last 15 minutes a game, and again, he is too attacking minded.

Wakid should be one of the DMCs, but if Noor is not called, are we forced to have Omar Al Ghamdi? thats a scary thought :(

Attackers, again, if Sami is pushed back to attack because of Nawaf, we have 1 slot to choose for Al-Yami, Sheihan and Talal Al-mish3al, all playing GREAT NT football over the past year, not too mention we still have Obaid, Marzook and forced-down-our-throats Abdullah Jamaan.

If Dokhi doesn't shape up, we will be burnt down the left flank, and as Ahmed said, Khalil is really a big weakness in the center.

So many questions, if the Hillal syndrom stays, we will see Khalil, Dokhi, Omar Al Ghamdi, Shalhoob, Nawaf, Sami and Jamaan all start! :eek: this team will be whipped to peaces.
 

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Guys,

It's not a black or white issue. I totally agree that Khalil, Jamaan and Alghamdi are not good for the NT. I also prefer Sheleyah over Dookhi in the WC (better defense). Furthermore, I have already said that Shalhoub has no place in the NT. It's better for us Hilalis if they stay for club competitions.

However, and read what I'm writing carefully, these players did not start in the 4-1 thrashing from Japan, they did not start in the first 2 games in the qualifiers and had no part in the thrashings in Mexico99. In fact, the players that you advocate started in them. In the last three matches in Asia 2000 there where 7-8 Hilalis and the number of Hilalis increased every game in the qualifiers. Does this mean that the new Hilalis are better "individually" than the players they substituted? Certainly not. But they did help the team "gel" and both the performance and results improved. So why did that happen?

I believe that this is due to the short sighted way of doing things at the Saudi FA. If you bring a new coach you can't expect results in a month or two with a new set players. It takes at least a year or two for the new system to function properly and for the players to play well as a unit. But when the coach gets fired, the local coach will rely on psychologic factors and use as many players from one team as possible to get a more understanding between the players. It has been tried and proven successful. Sadly it caused our Football to stagnate since 1998.

In other words, I believe having too many Hilalis is a consequence to our short sited FA not the cause of the problem. Both Macalla and Santrac picked very few Hilalis to begin with.

Contd.
 

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The solution

The pressure from the fans plays an important role in changing coaches. For the time being, the big dance is only 5 months away so there is not much to do. Even if no Hilalis other than Al-Dayea start, we are in for a beating. At best we can get one point from either Ireland and Cameroun. Luckily, all three teams are not high scoring teams (Germany is not its old self) so we probably won't lose by more than 3-0.

After that, I propose that we Saudi fans petition for a real "system" to be implemented for the NT. A hot shot coach at the level of Troussier for example should be given the job of building a world class team in three or four years. In other words, nothing is expected before the WC2006 qualifiers but a good showing at that stage is expected. I believe, that once a real system is implemented (a tough task), it is much easier to maintain it and modify/improve it later on. Ofcourse, it gets us back to the chicken or the egg question on how that can be done while the clubs are at best semi professional and with all the problems they are having.
 
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