A lucky goal off a free kick by Salman Mohammed Al Awadi helped Kuwait to hold on for a 1-1 draw against Bahrain in their second Group E game in the football tournament of the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, yesterday.
Bahrain’s Ali Mohammed Hasan had earlier put his side ahead with a fine, second-half goal in the 52nd minute after the first half finished with both sides still waiting to get on the scoreboard.
In a game dominated by Bahrain, who were unfortunate not to have scored more goals, Kuwait seemed to be heading for a likely defeat until Al Awadi’s free kick from distance managed to find the back of the net.
“We were desperately unlucky,” Bahrain head coach Dario Basic told the GDN by phone from Hangzhou.
“We dominated this game even more than our opening game against Thailand – which we also drew 1-1 – and, if everything had been in our control, we would have scored four or five goals if we had managed to convert the chances we created.
“As it turns out, the Kuwaitis, who were not as organised as us, managed to score a lucky equaliser. It was just hard luck for us because we basically controlled the game throughout.”
Bahrain are now second in the four-team table with two points from successive drawn games, behind leaders South Korea who have six points from two wins against Kuwait (9-0) and Thailand (4-0).
With their last preliminary round game against defending champions Korea to come on Sunday, Bahrain still have a chance to qualify for the round of 16, even if they lose to the Koreans.
According to the tournament’s format, the top two teams from each of the six groups go through to the next round while the four best third-placed sides also qualify.
“We still have a good chance to get into the next round,” Basic said.
“If we play a good game against Korea, we could even finish second. But, even if we finish third, we could still go through if we are counted amongst the four best third-placed teams.
“Overall, I’m very happy with the way we played. The only unfortunate part was that we received a couple of yellow cards towards the end. Plus, the referee mistakenly gave one of our players, along with a Kuwait player, a red card, which means he won’t be able to play in the game against Korea.
“Also, another of our players has collected two yellow cards in these first two games, so he won’t be able to play in the next game either.
“But I’m still confident that we’ll do well against the Koreans.”