Home advantage is a genuinely beautiful thing in sport; it shows off the soul and unity of the fanbase.
A team that may not be at its best playing form can fight with grit through 90 minutes and win it at the end due to the pure energy emanating from home fans.
That’s exactly what happened last night at the Bahrain - Iran football game.
This team, this year, has reignited something in Bahrainis that seemed to have burned out a while ago.
Our fight-to-the-end performance made history when we sealed, for the first time ever, the West Asian Football Federation title in August.
And now we’re vying for top position, tied in points with Iraq, for the joint qualifications of the Fifa World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023.
Yes, we still have five games to go, but what a roaring start it has been – picture it with me we defeated Asia’s first ranked Iran.
Our young talents have made us believe once again in achieving football glory.
Our News Editor Noor Toorani pays tribute to last night's heroes - the fans!
The grit and fight shown on the field by this squad, coached by Portugal’s Helio Sousa, is making Bahrainis turn up to the national stadium in droves.
And most importantly, this squad, this fighting spirit, this on- and off- the field teamwork has reignited the purest form of unity within Bahrainis; something we’ve all been longing to see once again.
I have always been a long and firm believer of sports transcending differences and bridging divides.
This vision is evident in the latest series of national initiatives targeting our youth and sports talents – with unconditional support from Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
This was true last night as thousands of Bahraini fans waited outside the national stadium for hours before kick-off, and that energy was carried throughout the game.
Even when missing clear chances and struggling at points to maintain possession, the stands did not let down - they chanted and cheered to the end.
Even if you weren’t present at the stadium, you could hear the cheers, the gasps and the sighs of relief through your television screens.
The commentator said something that I felt truly encapsulated the atmosphere; Iran’s goalkeeper Ali Reza might have saved a penalty from Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo at last year’s World Cup, but that didn’t help him in saving Mohamed Hardan’s shot last night.
This doesn’t take anything away from young Hardan’s spectacular efforts - and we all know penalties are tricky, even for the greatest of keepers - but this was a testament to the energy of support that filled the air.
Salute to this team for making us proud to become the 12th player!