U23 Olympic football team held by Thailand
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain’s under-23 Olympic football team conceded a heartbreaking late equaliser in a 1-1 stalemate with Thailand yesterday in their opening Group E match of the men’s football tournament at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Sayed Abdulkarim put the Bahrainis ahead with a goal in the first half, but then after it appeared that Bahrain would be coming away with the full three points, Purachet Thodsanid found the net in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time to salvage a draw for the Thais.
The result was a missed opportunity for Bahrain, who return to action tomorrow against Kuwait.
That game is scheduled for an 11am kick-off. The Kuwaitis were dealt a 0-9 demolition against South Korea in yesterday’s other Group E fixture.
The South Koreans are now atop the group table following the first matchday. Abdulkarim found the net yesterday in the 42nd minute, when he pounced on a rebound off a saved Abdulla Al Subaiei shot. Al Subaiei made an attempt from the left of the penalty area but it was stopped by Thai goalkeeper Nopphon Lakhonphon.
The ball then bounced back into the path of Abdulkarim, who slotted home from close range. Later, in the game’s dying moments, Thodsanid levelled the match with a stunning strike from a metre outside the box.
Surrounded by three Bahraini players, he hit a left-footed rocket that flew into the top-left corner of goal as stunned Bahrain goalkeeper Salman Adel Alisa could only watch.
Olympic team star Mubarak Mohammed said after the match: “We were in control of the game throughout the 90 minutes, but we lost focus in one moment and the Thai team were able to equalise.
“We are still in the running for one of the qualification tickets to the next round. We will forget about this match and start focusing on Kuwait, which will be another difficult game. We will play to win and improve our chances of advancing.”
Following their game against the Kuwaitis tomorrow, the Kingdom’s under-23s wrap up the preliminary stage against South Korea on Sunday.
There are 23 nations competing in men’s football at the Hangzhou Asiad, and they have been divided into six groups.
Group A features hosts China, Bangladesh, Myanmar and India; Group B comprises Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Mongolia; Group C includes Uzbekistan, Syria, Hong Kong and Afghanistan; Group D consists of Japan, Palestine and Qatar; and Group F features North Korea, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan and Chinese-Taipei.
At the end of a single round-robin, the top two teams from each group along with four best third-placers advance to the round of 16.