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Qatar off to winning start as UAE hold Saudi Arabia

QATAR made a flying start yesterday in the Soccer Championship of the First GCC Games (Bahrain 11).

Held at the National Stadium in Riffa, the first day of this six-team competition saw Qatar edge Oman 1-0 in the opening match of Group 'A', which also features hosts Bahrain who had a rest day yesterday.

After a goalless first-half, it was Qatar who found the breakthrough thanks to Mohamed El Neel's penalty-kick conversion in the 61st minute for the all-important goal and the full three points and a perfect start to their campaign.

Oman had their moments later in the game had a few scoring chances, which however, were denied by Qatar's goalkeeper Ahmed Abonara.

In yesterday's second match, favourites Saudi Arabia and the UAE battled to a 1-1 draw in Group 'B' clash.

Bader Khamees put the Saudis ahead after 27 minutes, but Khamis Ali equalised for the UAE on 56 minutes.

Today is a rest day and the championship is scheduled to continue tomorrow when hosts Bahrain begin their title bid against Oman at 8.15pm, while Kuwait make debut against the UAE in the early match, set to kick-off at 5.45pm.

The hosts' Olympic team is being coached by Bahraini tactician Salman Shareeda, and they are also in a competitive qualifying tournament for a berth in next year's London Olympics.

All the six GCC teams are taking part in the tournament with their under-23 squads as the men's senior teams are busy with their qualification campaign for the 2014 Fifa World Cup.



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