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By ESPN Staff
Jan 18, 2009

Le Roy hails new dawn after Oman victory

French coach Claude Le Roy believes Saturday's maiden Gulf Cup triumph will kick-start a prosperous period for Oman.

The hosts beat three-time champions Saudi Arabia 6-5 on penalties following a goalless 120 minutes in Muscat to earn a deserved victory following two successive runners-up finishes to Qatar in 2004 and United Arab Emirates two years ago.

Oman struck the woodwork twice as Ismail Al Ajmi fired against the crossbar in first-half stoppage time before Imad Al Hosni rattled the bar with just six minutes remaining.

But in the shootout after the first 10 penalties were successful, Saudi Arabia's Taisir Al Jassim fired wide and Oman's Mohamad Rabih then stepped up to ensure the last three Gulf Cup's have been won my the host nation.

"I was confident that we would win the title after the motivation, desire and excitement I saw in the players before and during the tournament in addition to the good performances we had," said Le Roy, who led Cameroon to the 1988 African Cup of Nations.

"The tournament was not easy for any team as the Asian champions Iraq and the defending champions UAE were knocked out in the first round. The level we saw in these matches shows how good the teams in the Gulf region are.

"There are a lot of players in the Oman national team who deserve to play in Europe because they have a lot of skills which would allow them to play with different teams around Europe.

"I hope we can continue with the same motivation and desire to win more titles in the next period especially because we have a lot of talent. I'm really proud of this team and these players."

Oman start their 2011 Asian Cup qualification campaign against Indonesia in Muscat on Monday.They failed to qualify for the final round of World Cup qualifiers for South Africa 2010.


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