Bahrain are surprise package at Gulf Cup as Qatar exit early

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January 2 – Qatar’s efforts to build a credible team ahead of  hosting 2022 World Cup remain a formidable challenge after yet another disappointment, this time failing to reach the semi-finals of the Gulf Cup in Kuwait.

The Qataris were held 1-1 by underdogs Bahrain in their final group game to finish third, with coach Felix Sanchez admitting that his squad now had to concentrate on the 2019 Asian Cup.

“The next competition is the Asian Cup. Obviously the national team is going to prepare for this competition so that we have a good team,” said Sanchez who last July became Qatar’s third coach in less than a year. “Obviously we did not qualify and I have responsibility for that.”

The tournament reaches its conclusion this week as Bahrain attempts a maiden title and the United Arab Emirates bids for a third in 10 years. In the semi-finals Bahrain were today taking on Oman who stunned Saudi Arabia 2-0 in the group phase while the UAE were meeting three-time winners Iraq.

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