Preparing for the 17th Gulf ChampionshipYemen beaten twice [Archives:2004/797/Sports]
By Adel Al-Khawlani
Yemen Times Staff
In two friendly meetings with Iraq and Qatar, Yemen lost to the former on Dec. 4 by 1-3, and to the latter 0-3 the following day in Dubai.
The first meeting was arranged between the Algerian Rabeh Sa'adan, coach of the national team and his counterpart Adnan Hamid, coach of the Iraqi team just two days after the delegation of Yemen football team arrived in the UAE.
The match was fast paced from the beginning with the score at the end of the first half being 1-1. Iraq scored the first goal in the 25th minute of the first half and Yemen answered after only 6 minutes later through the skillful striker Nashwan Al-Hajjam.
The second half saw two goals for Iraq. The second goal came through a free kick from opposite the Yemeni net, and the third was scored almost in the same way.
In the second half, the play slowed down, particularly after the midfielder of Yemen Abdulsalam Al-Ghurbani was injured along with the goalkeeper who was substituted by Salim Awadh. The meeting witnessed two yellow cards for Iraqis and one for the Yemeni side.
Players of Yemen lost two golden opportunities, the first by Salim Sa'eed and the second by Ali Al-Nono in the final minutes of the first half. Al-Nono did not appear at his usual level and what saved Yemen from being badly beaten were the top efforts of fullback Mohannad Rajeh and left winger Waseem Al-Qa'ar, and the solid play between Nashwan Aziz and Nashan Al-Hajjam.
In the second practice play with Qatar, Yemen suffered a 0-3 loss meanwhile the team was camping in the UAE before entering the 17th Gulf Championship which will open on Dec. 10.
The first half saw no goals for either side and in the 21st minute of the second half, Wasam Rizq scored for his side after he received a ball from Mush'al Mubarik and placed it in the right corner of the Yemeni net.
Salim Al-Mal added another goal for Qatar just two minutes after the first goal and Nief Al-Khater scored the third goal in the 74 minute of the game time, to increase his side's advantage to three goals.
Rage is mounting among the Yemeni public over the loss. They are angry that the situation of the Yemeni football has changed from Lusiano's exaggerations to Sa'adan's statements. The encounters scheduled for the team in the 17th Gulf competition will be the real test for the Sa'adan and the rest of the team.