Gulf Cup final goes as planned, Iraq ahead with a single goal at first half

Gulf Cup final goes as planned, Iraq ahead with a single goal at first half
The first half of the Iraq-Oman game at the Gulf Cup final ended with Iraq ahead with a single goal.
2 min read
19 January, 2023
Iraq (white) and Oman's (red) players greet each other before the start of the 25th Arabian Gulf Cup final football match between Iraq and Oman at the Basra International Stadium in Iraq's southern city on January 19, 2023. {Getty}

The Gulf Cup final between Iraq and Oman kicked off as planned late on Thursday after a least one person was killed and dozens injured in a stampede outside Palm Tree Trunk Stadium in Basra.

Thousands of fans without tickets had gathered outside the stadium since dawn in the hope of watching the rare home international match that kicked off at 7 pm (4 pm GMT).

Before the match, Basra Governor Asaad Al-Eidani said the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation told him the game could be moved to another venue outside the country if the situation in Basra remained unstable following the stampede.

He called on the Iraqi spectators to leave the stadium to prevent the game from being cancelled. 

Later, the Iraqi football federation said the game will go ahead as planned.

Iraqi Prime minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani met with security forces and assessed preparations for the game to go on. The prime minister tweeted after the stampede, calling on citizens to provide "assistance and support" to authorities on the ground to "show the final of the 25th Gulf Cup." 

In the first half of the game, Iraq was ahead with a goal scored by Iraqi player Ibrahim al-Baish in the 25th minute. 

Iraqis have been joyous about hosting the tournament, the first to take place in the country since 1979.

It comes after years of war and sanctions prevented major international competitions and football matches from being held inside Iraq.