UAE golden boy Omar Abdulrahman endured the worst night of his career, critically missing penalties at the end of normal time and in the shootout to see underdogs Oman deservedly claim the Gulf Cup.
Al Ahmar forward Mohsin Johar struck the decisive effort from 12 yards as his team produced a perfect five penalties from five in Kuwait City, punishing the celebrated Amoory for his preceding effort which was pushed to safety by goalkeeper Faiz Al Rushaidi.
This mirrored his miss in the 90th minute with the score at 0-0, with the opportunity being earned after Al Jazira striker Ali Mabkhout went down under minimal contact from centre-back Mohammed Al Musallami.
Here, we rate the players from both sides in the wake of the UAE’s failure to claim a third Gulf Cup.
Al Rushaidi 8 – Frustrated Abdulrahman in the dying seconds of second half and in shootout. Otherwise, was surprisingly untroubled.
Suhail 7 – An energetic presence on the right flank. Went close with one driving run and shot, also produced excellent penalty in shootout.
Said 7 – Complimented Al Musallami well. Made one superb covering tackle to keep out Mabkhout in extra time.
Al Musallami 7 – Unfortunate to concede penalty when Mabkhout went down. His energy helped keep the Al Jazira man in check.
Al Busaidi 7 – Complimented Suhail well. Outshone opposite number, Mohamed Ahmed.
Al Saadi 6 – Kept it simple throughout. A good foil for the attackers.
Kano 7 – Relished his battle with Esmail and Salmeen. Went close with a first-half header. Unstoppable penalty in shootout.
Ibrahim 6 – Quietest part of the Oman attack. but his energy helped unsettle the UAE.
Johar 7 – Stole the headlines with his perfect penalty under pressure to prevail in the shootout. On another night, would have been the match winner in normal time. Forced fine stops from Essa with a header and free-kick.
Al Yahmadi 6 – Had one threatening shot which was dragged wide.
Al Hajri 5 – The ex-Al Dhafra front man was bullied by the UAE defenders and headed wide with an open goal at his mercy in extra time when picked out at back post.
Salim 6 – Kept Oman ticking over. Essa got fingertips to penalty, but still went in.
Al Mushaifri 6 – Negligible impact from the bench.
Al Muqbali 6 – Blink and you missed him. But penalty was perfect.
دموع إسماعيل الحمادي ومواساة شقيقه من المنتخب العماني هو المثال الحي للأخوة الخليجية وهذا هو الهدف الأسمى لهذا التجمع الكبير#الإمارات_عمان#خليجي_23#أبوظبي_الرياضية#عمان_الامارات_الفوز_واحد pic.twitter.com/F2Xgdl0TaM— قناة أبوظبي الرياضية (@ADSportsTV) January 5, 2018
Essa 8 – By far the UAE’s best player. Made two particularly fine saves from Johar; a second-half header and extra-time free-kick.
Mubarak 6 – Playing a third centre-back was unnecessary. Sacrificed early in second half.
I. Ahmed 6 – Towering presence in both penalty areas. Was busier than he would have expected to be. Smashed in a great penalty down the middle.
Salem 6 – Usual dogged self. Dominated Al Hajri.
M. Ahmed 5 – Invisible display from the versatile Al Ain defender.
Salmeen 5 – Lack of experience at this level showed. Notable that attackers declined to pass to him when free.
Esmail 6 – Experienced head in the middle. Kept ball rotating.
Al Menhali 5 – Was the hero in the semi-final, but only impact on Friday night came in the shootout. Another good penalty.
O. Abdulrahman 3 – Poor reputation in big games was only strengthened. Weak penalties at the end of second half and in shootout were unforgivably bad.
Mabkhout 5 – Struggled to make an impact, forced to feed on crumbs. Went down easily for missed penalty. Produced in the shootout with a nerveless first effort.
Khalil 4 – Clearly not match fit after months of inactivity. Should not have started.
Barman 6 – Why was a third defensive midfielder needed? Beautiful penalty.
Al Hammadi 7 – Simply should have started. Has been absent even longer than Khalil, yet his energy and drive was far superior.
M. Abdulrahman 6 – Brought on with penalties in mind.
Prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah was named African Player of the Year in Ghanaian capital Accra on Thursday, the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983.
The 25-year-old has scored 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions this season for the Premier League outfit after moving from AS Roma in the summer.
He also starred for resurgent Egypt, who last year finished runners-up to Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations and secured a first World Cup appearance since 1990.
In the penultimate round of World Cup qualifying, Salah scored the brace that edged Congo Brazzaville in Alexandria, including the stoppage-time winner from a penalty that sealed a trip to Russia.
Salah’s Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, of Senegal, was runner-up and 2015 winner, Gabon and Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang third after a 30-player list had been trimmed to three.
National coaches, Confederation of African football (CAF) officials, journalists and the public were involved in the voting.
“Winning this award is a dream come true – 2017 was an unbelievable year for me I had a fantastic time with the national team,” said Salah after receiving the trophy.
“This is a big award for me, a special moment in my career. I would like to dedicate it to all the kids in Africa and Egypt.
“I want to tell them to never stop dreaming, never stop believing.”
The Egyptian succeeds Algerian Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City as holder of the most prized CAF individual award.
It is the first time since 1986 that stars from the north of the continent, which along with the west is the strongest football region, have won successive titles.
Victory on Thursday completed an awards hat-trick for Salah, who was named BBC African footballer of the Year in December and Arab Player of the Year earlier this week.
Mane was voted 2016-2017 Liverpool Player of the Season, but the 25-year-old has since been overshadowed at Anfield by Salah’s scoring exploits.
He did stand out for Senegal, however, as they secured a first World Cup appearance since 2002, providing much of the creativity in a team stacked with physically formidable footballers.
Aubameyang was Bundesliga top scorer with 31 goals last season, holding off Bayern Munich and Poland ace Robert Lewandowski.
He flopped with Gabon, though, failing to take the 2017 Cup of Nations hosts past the first round and shunning several World Cup call-ups as Gabon failed to qualify.
Manchester City are reportedly interested in triggering Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti’s €60million release clause.
According to respected French outlet L’Equipe, Umtiti’s representatives have met with City and the France international is now said to be mulling over a switch having been impressed by the project headed by manager Pep Guardiola.
The centre-back has been a tower of strength for the Catalan giants this season with Ernesto Valverde’s pragmatic approach reliant on the ever-dependable presence of Umtiti.
He emerged as one of the best defenders in La Liga before going down with a hamstring injury against Celta Vigo early last month.
The relatively low fee, considering the astronomical £75million expenditure from Liverpool for Southampton defender Virgil Van Dijk, will no doubt sound the alarm of clubs throughout Europe.
Umtiti marries physical prowess with passing ability – he has the highest pass accuracy in La Liga this season, which is pretty impressive considering how much he actually gets on the ball – and Barca will no doubt be desperate to keep on to their star man.
The 24-year-old joined the Blaugrana from Lyon in 2016 for £21million and has proven to be a bargain ever since.
Guardiola wants to reinforce his quadruple-chasing City squad with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez also being targeted.