Kuwait forward Shabib Al Khaldi scored twice within six minutes in the second half to propel his team to a 3-1 victory over Bahrain in a friendly match in Dubai last night.
Kuwait had entered the second half leading 1-0 after experienced midfielder Ahmed Al Dhefiri put them ahead in just the fifth minute of the game.
Al Khaldi then made it 2-0 in the 56th minute before scoring his second goal six minutes later to put Kuwait 3-0 ahead and in sight of a certain victory.
Bahrain battled hard to get back into the contest and their efforts were rewarded in the 72nd minute when star forward Abdulla Yusuf Helal managed to sneak one past the Kuwait goalkeeper to get his team up on the scoreboard.
But that was the only moment of joy for the Reds as the Kuwaitis held on to their advantage until the final whistle was blown.
Despite the loss, Bahrain head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, who assumed charge just a couple of months ago, said there were several positive takeaways for his side.
“I liked their passing, I liked the fact that they tried to stick to the plans we had made and what we had practiced during our training camp,” he said.
“So there were several positive things to take away from this game. But we also made many mistakes, which, at the international level, we really shouldn’t be making as a national team.
“So we have to keep working. But this was a friendly game and we use these matches to gain experience and try to improve as much as we can.”
Bahrain will now play a second international friendly game against Turkmenistan on Tuesday before heading back to the kingdom the next day.
Prior to arriving in Dubai last Saturday for the second leg of their overseas training camps, a 20-member squad spent a fortnight in Stara Pazova, a picturesque town about 40km from the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where they played three practice matches against club sides alongside a specially-arranged training camp.