ISA Al Anezi scored the match’s lone goal as Manama stunned defending champions Al Ahed of Lebanon 1-0 last night in the 2020 AFC Cup.
The result was the first victory in two games for the Bahrainis in the opening stage of this year’s competition, which has been organised and is run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
The game was played at Khalifa Sports City stadium in Isa Town.
After a goalless first half, Al Anezi put Manama in the lead with his goal in the 69th minute.
The striker got on the end of a Mohammed Adel cross from the right wing, and was initially denied by Ahed goalkeeper Ali Daher. But Al Anezi didn’t give up and he followed through on the rebound, which he sent to the back of the net for the hosts’ winner.
Just a minute before scoring, Al Anezi should have already fired in a goal but his fine half-volley hit the crossbar to keep the game scoreless.
Ahed tried to salvage a point over the last 20 minutes of the contest, but Manama were able to do enough to keep their rivals at bay. They did come close in the final minute through midfielder Mohammed Masri, but his shot had a bit too much height to it and whistled just over the crossbar.
Following the result, Manama improved to four points for second place in Group A of the AFC Cup’s opening stage. They had previously played to a goalless stalemate with Al Jaish of Syria in their first fixture earlier this month.
Jaish rose to the top of the standings, also with four points, following their own 1-0 win last night over Hilal Alquds of Palestine.
Manama’s next game will be against the Palestinian outfit on March 9, to be played away.
AFC Cup action continues today with Bahrain’s second club in the tournament set to take the field. League champions Riffa will be playing against Al Jazeera of Jordan in their second match in Group C. It will take place at Amman International Stadium and it is scheduled for a 5pm kick-off.
Riffa are currently third in their division, having lost their opening game to Al Qadsia of Kuwait 1-2.