Bahrain triumph in Asian beach soccer opener | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain triumph in Asian beach soccer opener

TDT | Manama                                             

The Daily Tribune –   

Bahrain made a rousing start to the 2023 AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup yesterday, outclassing Afghanistan 4-2 in their opening game of the continental competition, taking place in Pattaya, Thailand.

Rashed Jamal, Mohammed Yacoob and goalkeeper Ahmed Abdulrashool were all on target for the nationals, with Yacoob scoring a brace. The win marked the perfect start for the Bahrainis in Group A of the tournament’s preliminary round.

Jamal opened the scoring in the second minute to give Bahrain the nationals the early lead. After the Afghans equalised, Yacoob restored the Bahrainis’ advantage with a goal in the 18th minute, and then scored again to make it 3-1 just a minute later to end the second period.

Afghanistan again replied midway through the third and final period, but the nationals closed the match strong and Abdulrasool converted their fourth goal to peg the final score and the fine victory. Bahrain are one of 16 teams competing in the continent’s premier beach soccer tournament, which has been organised and is being run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

It also acts as a qualification competition for the 2023 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, with the two finalists set to book their tickets to the global championship. Alongside Bahrain and Afghanistan in Group A are Saudi Arabia and hosts Thailand, who faced off in yesterday’s other match.

The Bahrainis return to action tomorrow when they play Saudi at 1pm, Bahrain time, and then take on the Thais on Monday at 4.30pm, Bahrain time. Bahrain must finish in the top two of their group to qualify for the knockout quarter-finals.

Bahrain are in Pattaya with a 12-member squad. The other players include Khalifa Ibrahim, Mohammed Ashoor, Abdulla Abdullatif, Salman Al Yaqoobi, Mohammed Darwish, Mahran Maatouq, Hamza Al Balooshi, Hassan Ebrahim and Issa Jumaa.

Bahrain won the tournament’s first edition in 2006 under head coach Gustavo Zloccowick, who is now coaching Saudi. The Bahrainis have appeared in eight of the tournament’s previous editions, including in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.