Gulf 18.. UAE achieved the first title.. Al-Habsi is the best for the third time

For the third time since the launch of the Gulf Cup, and after the sixth edition in 1982, in which it ranked third, and the twelfth edition in 1994, in which it came as a runner-up, the United Arab Emirates hosted the eighteenth Gulf Cup 2007, from January 17 to 30.

The matches were hosted by Madinat Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, and the tournament was held in a two-group system, so that the first and second of each group qualified for the semi-finals, and the third-place match was canceled.

The draw ceremony was held on September 18, 2006, in the presence of Gulf football stars, Al-Arafi Hussein Saeed (top scorer in the 1979 edition), Bahraini Ibrahim Zuwaid (top scorer in the 1982 edition), Qatari Mubarak Mustafa (top scorer in the 1992 edition), Saudi Fouad Anwar (top scorer in the 1994 edition), and the Kuwaiti Jassim Al-Huwaidi (top scorer in the 1998 edition), Omani Hani Al-Dabit (top scorer in the 2002 edition), and Yemeni star Mahdi Al-Ahmadi, as well as Italy and Real Madrid star Fabio Cannavaro.

The UAE, Oman, Kuwait, and Yemen were drawn in the first group, while the second included Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, and Iraq, and the Emirati White faced in the opening match the Omani Red in a strong match that ended in favor of Oman 2/1, with the goals of Fawzi Bashir and Imad Al Hosani, while the tournament’s top scorer, Ismail Matar, scored before they met again in the final match of the tournament, which Matar won for the Emirati White as the first Gulf title.

The UAE achieved its first title, after it finished runner-up for three previous editions (1986, 1988, 1994), to enter the champions record for the first time after the dominance of Kuwait (9 titles), Saudi Arabia (3), Iraq (3), and Qatar (2).

In this version, Omani Red won 4 matches (UAE, Kuwait, Yemen) in the group stage, then Bahrain in the semi-finals, and only lost the final match against the UAE 0/1.

In the semi-finals, the Emirati White defeated Saudi Arabia’s Al-Akhdar with a goal by Ismail Matar, and the Omani Red defeated its Bahraini brother, with a goal by Badr Al-Maimani.

The tournament witnessed the scoring of 34 goals over the course of 15 matches, and after his remarkable performance, Ismail Matar won the top scorer award with 5 goals and the best player award, while Ali Al Habsi retained the award of best goalkeeper.

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