Laos’ bid to reach the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 came to an end, while Bahrain kept their hopes alive as the two sides played out a goalless draw at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town last night.
Playing in the second of their two fixtures in the three-team Group A, Laos couldn’t find the big win they needed to stay in contention following Monday’s 4-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei.
The result is more useful for group hosts Bahrain, who avoided defeat in their first appearance of these qualifiers, meaning they can still qualify for the first AFC Women’s Asian Cup if they beat Chinese Taipei in Sunday’s group finale.
Both sides had no shortage of motivation, but it was more of an arm wrestle than a shootout, with clear cut scoring chances at a premium for most of the contest.
With both defences on top, the teams tried their luck with long range efforts, and it took an excellent save by Bahrain goalkeeper Huda Ali Salman to deny a goalbound effort from Kemmy Phatdala in the shadows of half-time.
The attacking struggles at both ends continued into the second, where Laos threatened on occasion but couldn’t conjure the right final pass to create what would have been their first ever goal In AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifying, while their goalkeeper Bangon Phonexay made a rare save to deny a Yasmeen Fayez Tobellah free-kick with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Laos eagerly hunted for a winning goal in the final minutes, but Bahrain defended well enough to hold them off as the match ended in a stalemate.
While Laos did manage their first competition point at this level, it wasn’t enough to keep their dream of qualification alive, leaving everything to play for Bahrain when they meet Chinese Taipei in Sunday’s decider.
Earlier, Lebanon kept their qualification hopes alive with a 1-0 win over the UAE at Dolen Omurzakov Stadium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
In a game of few chances, a Syntia Salha strike early in the second half proved decisive for the youthful Lebanese outfit, who atoned somewhat for Monday’s 4-0 loss to Myanmar by claiming only their second ever win in AFC Women’s Asian Cup qualifying.
Despite the victory, Lebanon still need to defeat Guam on Sunday, and see at least one other result fall their way, if they are to reach the Finals as Group D winners, while UAE also remain in contention despite their defeat, with both sides on three points after two matches.