BAHRAIN last night continued their triumphant march towards qualifying for the AFC Under-19 Championships 2020 by registering another convincing victory at the Khalifa Stadium in Isa Town.
The national juniors put up another impressive performance to outplay Bhutan 4-0 for their second successive victory in the Group ‘E’ qualifiers.
It was an even more resounding victory as it bettered their 3-0 win over Bangladesh in the first round on Wednesday.
With two successive victories, hosts Bahrain are on pole position to win this group and book their berth in the 2020 AFC Championship to be held in Uzbekistan next October.
In the other match yesterday, Bangladesh held Jordan 1-1.
Bahrain top the group with six points from two wins while Jordan are on four with a win and a draw. Bangladesh have a point and Bhutan are yet to open their account.
Bahrain only need a draw in their last match against Jordan tomorrow to seal a berth in the 2020 AFC Championships.
Bangladesh take on Bhutan on the same day in the other clash.
Adel Al Rumaihi put Bahrain ahead converting a penalty in the 33rd minute while Abdulrahman Al Sayed doubled the lead nine minutes later.
Bahrain continued to press hard and looked determined to find the target again before half-time.
And Abdullah Al Nimr did not disappoint as he found the target in first-half extra-time to make it 3-0 for the hosts.
Bahrain maintained the pressure and within four minutes of the restart, Syed Jawad Haidar knocked in the fourth goal.
Bahrain could have sealed the match with a tennis-like score but substitute Ali Khalifa missed a good chance in the 66th minute and another substitute Mubarak
Mohamed’s powerful long-ranger crashed into the bar in the 85th.
Bahrain, however, can take a lot of positives from two successive victories as they have scored seven goals and are yet to concede any.
This should augur well for them when they take on Jordan tomorrow.
There are 11 groups in the qualifiers with each team in each group playing each other at a centralised venue.
The 11 group winners and the four best runners-up qualify for the AFC Under-19 Championship 2020.
If the final tournament hosts win their group or are among the four best runners-up, the fifth best runners-up also qualify.
Iraq, Qatar, Tajikistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Vietnam and Indonesia are hosting other qualifying tournaments.
Bahrain finished second in the same event in 1977 and 1986 and are presently looking to qualify for the finals for the 10th time.
The last time the Bahrainis qualified for the final was in 2016 as hosts and they stormed into the quarter-finals and ultimately finished seventh.