BAHRAIN came away with a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Hong Kong last night in an international friendly match played away at Mong Kok Stadium in the Far East.
Ali Madan and Sami Al Hussaini came on as substitutes late in the second half to score for Bahrain and give them the well-deserved result.
The tune-up was held as part of the national team’s preparations for their upcoming qualifying match against Singapore on Tuesday next week. The match is an away fixture for the Bahrainis and it will be their fifth and penultimate assignment in Group ‘E’ of qualifying.
Bahrain head coach Miroslav Soukup started a team that included goalkeeper Ashraf Waueed; Waleed Al Hayam, Abo Baker Adam, Ahmed Abdulla and Sayed Redha Isa in defence; Abdulwahab Ali, Jamal Rashid, Abdulla Abdo, Kumail Al Atham and Sayed Dhiya Saeed in midfield and Mahdi Abduljabbar in attack.
The Bahrainis had their first opportunity to score early on in the eighth minute following a shot from Saeed that was saved. Abduljabbar also had a chance but his shot was marginally off target.
The game remained goalless at the half but the visitors continued to pile on the pressure after the interval.
Madan and Al Hussaini then came on in the last quarter-hour and immediately made an impact.
Madan opened the scoring in the 79th minute with a shot from outside the box and then Al Hussaini supplied the dagger right before the final whistle for the win.
It was not all positive for Bahrain, however, as second-half substitute Ibrahim Habib had to be rushed to hospital after suffering an injury above his eye. He was treated and was confirmed to be in good condition after a follow-up from the national team’s administration.
Bahrain are currently in first place in Group ‘E’ of qualifying. They have seven points from two wins, one draw and one loss. The Bahrainis are tied with Turkmenistan, while Chinese Taipei are third with six points and Singapore are last with two points.
Following Bahrain’s qualifier with Singapore, they play their final game against Turkmenistan on March 27 at home.
There are six groups in all in this third qualifying stage, with the top two teams from each earning a berth in the AFC Asian Cup 2019.