Semi Finals

Saturday 27th January

Both semi finals were due to take place at the Al Jazira stadium with Oman v Bahrain at 5.15 and U.A.E. v Saudi Arabia at 8.15. I knew this would mean chaos.

Setting of early from Sharjah, my first stop back in Abu Dhabi was the Adidas shop. There I was informed that the first game between Oman and Bahrain had been switched to the smaller stadium, in order that supporters of these two teams could watch their game. I now had a dilemma. Having planned to go go to both semi finals I would have to consider how I could possibly get into the stadium for the U.A.E. game later in the day.

I decided to go to Al Jazira at 2p.m. There were a number of people (over six hours before the scheduled kick off) waiting to get in at the turnstiles but there didn’t seem to be a flow of people arriving. I went to the police and saw the policeman I had troubled last time. I also went to the first gate and asked about my ticket (Bearing in mind I hadn’t got in with it yet) They confirmed that I could enter the main stand and when I told them of the problems I had had, getting past the police, one of them came with me and waved the ticket in the air to make it clear that this was allowed.

I asked to check that this would guarantee me entry, but of course no one could guarantee that (And even if they did I wouldn’t trust them). I was still thinking of going to the first game , but realised that if I wanted to get into the U.A.E. game that I would not be able to see all of it.

So at 4.15 I entered the main stand at Al Jazira. The opposite side was already full and of course to my left were the Saudis and a space for the band. To my right the pattern of the seats was visible but by 5p.m. it appeared that the whole stadium was full.

Throughout the game the Saudi’s were dominant and their support outshouted the home support (You can hear them on the G0lf Cup page). Until the 91st minute when Mattar took what looked to be a speculative shot through a player and into the net it went.

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