East Riffa, Al Hala in stalemate
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
East Riffa and Al Hala played to a 1-1 draw while Al Ittifaq roared back for a 3-2 victory over A’ali as the four-team relegation playoffs got underway last night to determine the two clubs that will play in next season’s Nasser bin Hamad Bahrain Premier Football League.
The four teams are playing one another in league format, with the top two going to the top flight and the bottom pair settling for participation in the Kingdom’s second division.
East Riffa and Hala are the two sides hoping to stay in the premier league, but they could only take a share of the points yesterday.
In their stalemate, Flavio Silva Cheveresan and Abdulaziz Khaled Al Mansouri were on target for their respective sides.
Cheveresan opened the scoring in the 13th minute after Obus Prince Aggreh made a fine pass that released his teammate in the penalty box.
Cheveresan rounded the Hala keeper and shot past a pair of opposing defenders to give his team the 1-0 lead.
But their advantage was shortlived, as Hala’s Mansouri equalised just seven minutes later.
He was on the receiving end of a fine through-pass that gave him a one-on-one with the East Riffa goalkeeper, and he made no mistake with his shot.
Meanwhile, in Ittifaq’s late victory against A’ali, they needed to battle back from two goals down to come away with the crucial three points.
A’Ali scored the game’s first two goals in the 13th minute and then again in the 62nd right after the half-time break.
But Ittifaq gradually fought their way back, and with goals in the 69th and 84th minutes, levelled the proceedings.
Their efforts were then rewarded with a late winner in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage-time, sealing the much-needed win.
The result put Ittifaq atop the standings in the four-team playoffs, followed by East Riffa and Hala.
A’ali are bottom following their defeat. The relegation playoffs continue with two more match days on Friday and then on May 30.
This Friday, East Riffa will play Ittifaq while Hala will take on A’ali.
Then, on the 30th, Ittifaq and Hala face off, while East Riffa and A’ali lock horns.
All matches are scheduled for simultaneous 7pm kick-offs on each night.
Second division champions Al Najma and runners-up Busaiteen have already secured their place in the Kingdom’s top flight for next season, while Bahrain Club and Budaiya were sent down to the lower tier.