*** ----> Al Rumaihi fires in late winner for Riffa | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Al Rumaihi fires in late winner for Riffa

TDT | Manama                          

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Defending champions Riffa left it late against Al Shabab in a hard-earned 1-0 victory last night to kick off the 2022/2023 season of the Nasser bin Hamad Bahrain Premier Football League. Mohammed Al Rumaihi scored the match’s lone goal with just five minutes to go in regular time, earning his team the full three points to start the new campaign. In other matches yesterday on a packed evening of action, AFC Cup champions Muharraq posted a resounding 2-0 win against Hidd, Al Ahli stunned Al Khaldiya 1-0, and East Riffa drew 1-1 with Bahrain Club.

In Riffa’s win, both teams appeared to be headed towards a draw until Al Rumaihi’s late heroics. He had a little help from Shabab goalkeeper Sayed Abbas Sabt who could not control a shot by Riffa substitute Waleed Drrardja from the edge of the penalty area. He fumbled the ball and Al Rumaihi took full advantage, firing it into goal. Meanwhile, Muharraq scored twice in the second half in their win against Hidd. Soufian Mahrouk opened their account in the 53rd minute after tapping the ball in from the face of goal.

The Moroccan professional received a low cross from the left supplied by Brazilian Fabio Gama Dos Santos, and he managed to send the ball home despite plenty of pressure from Hidd’s Ahmed Yusuf Hassan and goalkeeper Abdulla Alkaabi. Muharraq then added their second in the 69th minute with a Mario Fontanella short stab off a corner kick. The Italian was left unmarked as he guided the ball into the net just inches from the goal line. In Ahli’s victory, following a goalless first half, Hassan Jafar Madan scored the winning goal in the 61st minute after a defensive blunder by Khaldiya. Sayed Dhiya Saeed made a poorly hit back-pass to Khaldiya goalkeeper Sayed Shubbar Alawi and the ball went straight into the path of Madan, who made no mistake with his opportunity.

Madan rounded Alawi and with his second touch tapped the ball home into an empty net. That was enough to separate the two sides and earn Ahli all three points. East Riffa and Bahrain Club were on target on either side of the break in their stalemate. Hassan Alkarrani put East Riffa ahead in the 36th minute with a header from the left of goal off a cross from Abdulaziz Alshaikh.

Alkarrani’s effort bounced off the pitch and above the head of goalkeeper Yusuf Habib Mansoor. Bahrain Club equalised in the 75th minute when Wadhah Mahmood Saleh headed home from close range. He was on the receiving end of a cross by Abdulla Mubarak Khamis on a set piece, giving his team a share of the points. League action continues tomorrow night with two games, both at 6.30pm. At the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town, Budaiya face Al Hala, while at the National Stadium in Riffa, Manama play Sitra.