Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has provided a special charter flight to carry UAE fans to Riyadh to watch the national football team in action against Iraq tonight in the Gulf Cup of Nations.

More than 200 fans boarded the A330 aircraft in Dubai this afternoon, bound for the Saudi capital, to watch the team play in their crucial match at the King Fahd International Stadium.

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Etihad Airways, in conjunction with the UAE Football Federation, operated the free flight for supporters attending the all-important group match, which follows two draws in the UAE team’s previous group matches against Kuwait and Oman.

Hareb Al Muhairi, Etihad Airways’ Vice President UAE Sales, said: “Etihad Airways as the UAE’s national airline is delighted to once again support the national football team and its fans in the Gulf Cup of Nations.

“Hopefully the fans will provide the support to see the UAE win and progress to semi-finals and onwards in this fantastic sporting spectacle.”

Etihad Airways has previously deployed special charter flights for UAE fans in the Gulf Cup of Nations tournaments including the 2013 edition in Bahrain where the national team triumphed so memorably over Iraq in extra time in the final to become champions.