Riffa salvage late draw in AFC Cup
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Bahrain’s Riffa Club held Al Zawra’a SC of Iraq to a 1-1 draw last night in the 2023/2024 AFC Cup.
Brazilian Vinicius Vargas equalised for the Bahrainis late in the second half after Maytham Jabbar put the Iraqis ahead in the game’s opening minutes. Riffa were playing their second fixture in Group C yesterday.
The contest was held at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town, and it followed their 2-0 win over Nejmeh SC of Lebanon in their opening fixture, also at home, last month.
Jabbar opened the scoring for Zawra’a after only five minutes when he fired in a right-footed shot from the right side of the box into the bottom-left corner of the net, following a corner.
That was enough to put his team in front at the break.
After the restart, Riffa were determined to hit back and their efforts were finally rewarded in the 77th minute.
Vargas displayed his class, sending in a low left-footed strike from a metre outside the penalty area into the bottom-left corner of goal.
Riffa head coach Hisham Mahozi started a first 11 that included Mahmood Al Ajmi in goal, Lazar Dordevic, Sayed Mahdi Baqer, Hussain Al Eker and Hazaa Ali in defence; Mohammad Anz, Abdulaziz Khalid, Jassim Al Shaikh and Vargas in midfield; and Komail Al Aswad and Joel Vinicius Silva Dos Anjos as the strike partnership.
The result earned Riffa a share of the points and they are now on four on the Group C table.
In last night’s other Group C encounter, Al Arabi SC of Kuwait played to a goalless draw with Nejmeh at Kuwait Sporting Club Stadium in Kuwait City.
Riffa’s next AFC Cup match will be away at Kuwait City when they take on Arabi on 23 October.
The Bahrainis are then set to go against Arabi on 6 November in Bahrain before facing Nejmeh on 27 November.
They complete their group campaign on 12 December away at Zawra’a.
The AFC Cup is the annual continental club competition of the AFC for top teams not competing in the AFC Champions League.
Riffa are the lone Bahraini outfit in this year’s competition, having qualified as national league champions from the 2021/2022 season.
A total of 36 participating teams are participating, divided into nine groups across the five AFC zones.
The West zone teams are in Groups A, B and C.