BAHRAIN last night made an encouraging start in the West Asian qualification round for the 2020 Asian Futsal Championship at Khalifa Sport City Stadium, reports Vijay Mruthyunjaya.
Though Bahrain managed only a draw against the UAE 3-3 after going ahead in the first-half, they can take much comfort by a promising performance which can only get better.
Bahrain’s Brazil coach Marcelino Aparecido Gomes Da Silva expressed similar sentiments after the thrilling match.
“The opening games are usually difficult, but our team put up a very encouraging performance,” said coach Lino.
“Our ambition was, of course, to win but the UAE is a strong team and they proved it by winning a valuable point.”
Drawn in Group ‘A’ along with Iraq, the UAE, Palestine and Kuwait, Bahrain were first off the blocks with a fine goal by Saleh Ahmed. But that joy was short-lived as Mohammed Obaid equalised before half-time converting a penalty.
Bahrain went into the lead again, through Mohammed Al Sindi and Ahmed Abdul Nabi but could not hang to the advantage as the UAE fought back through Abdul Jameel and Wael Mohammed.
Today is a rest day for Bahrain and they take on Palestine tomorrow at 7pm.
“We will not think too much about this game, but we will try and correct our mistakes and focus on preparing the team for the next game,” added coach Lino.
“We are still in contention and have full faith in our capabilities.”
In yesterday’s other Group ‘A’ match, Kuwait routed Palestine 7-1.
Group ‘B’ features Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. In yesterday’s Group ‘B’ matches, Lebanon routed Oman 10-2 and Saudi Arabia got the better of Qatar 5-2.
A total of 16 teams qualify to play in the final tournament in 2020, including Turkmenistan who qualified automatically as hosts.
The qualification process is divided to four zones: Asean Zone, where the 2019 AFF Futsal Championship will serve as the qualifying competition, Central and South Zone (Nepal being the only team from South Zone entering), East Zone, and West Zone.
The top two teams from each group qualify for the finals.
5pm: Palestine vs Iraq. 7pm: Kuwait vs UAE