Holders the United Arab Emirates lost a two-goal lead as they drew 2-2 with 10-times winners Kuwait in the Gulf Cup on Monday with all the goals coming in a thrilling first half.
Ali Mabkhout scored twice for the UAE in 35 minutes, the second a powerful shot from the edge of penalty area in their Group B clash.
Two minutes later Kuwait pulled a goal back when Yousef Nasser headed home a cross from Bader Al-Mutawa who then scored himself after a fantastic run and curled shot.
“We were able to come back to the game against one of the best teams in the tournament,” Al-Mutawa said. “Being able to score two goals in about three minutes is really a big thing.”
Iraq draw 1-1 with Oman leaving Kuwait top with four points, the UAE and Oman on two and the Iraqis one, with all four still in contention to reach the semi-finals with a top-two finish.
Iraq took the lead when English-based Yaser Qasim, who plays for third-tier Swindon Town, scored from inside the area after 14 minutes for his first international goal in his second match.
But Qasim said he may have to leave the tournament after his club asked him to return. The Gulf Cup is not one of FIFA’s official competitions and Qasim’s appearances in Iraq’s first two matches coincided with the international break.
Oman’s Ahmed Mubarak, known as Kano, equalised with a penalty six minutes after the break but they are still without a win in eight Gulf Cup matches since lifting the trophy in 2009.
Kuwait next play Oman while the UAE face Iraq in a repeat of last year’s final which they won 2-1 after extra time.