*** ----> Bahrain fall to UAE | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain fall to UAE

TDT | Manama                                                   

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Bahrain suffered a disheartening 0-2 defeat to the UAE last night in their Group H continental qualifier for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

Abdullah Ramadan and Ali Mabkhout were on target for the Emiratis on either side of halftime in the match, which was played at the National Stadium in Riffa in front of a large crowd of supporters.

The Bahrainis were handed their first loss of qualifying after two games, while the UAE came away with their second straight win.

Yesterday’s result followed Bahrain’s 2-0 triumph over Yemen in their opening contest last week, while the visitors were 4-0 victors over Nepal. 

Last night’s clash was part of the second round of FIFA World Cup 2026 qualification under the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), and it was also a qualifying affair for the AFC Asian Cup 2027.

Bahrain head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi from Argentina fielded a starting 11 that included Ebrahim Luthfallah in goal; Mohammed Adel, Hazza Ali and Moses Atede in defence; Amine Hasan, Mohammed Al Hardan, Mohammed Jassim Marhoon, Ebrahim Al Wali and Waleed Al Hayyam in a five-man midfield; and Abdulla Al Hashash and Komail Al Aswad as the strike partnership.

Al Hashash was first to threaten for the nationals when he hit the side-netting in the fourth minute of the game.

Marhoon then shot just over the crossbar in the 15th minute. In the 25th minute, the UAE’s Caio Canedo beat Luthfallah, but his effort then struck the left post and bounced away from danger.

The Emiratis took the lead in the 36th minute with some fine passing in the penalty box.

Ali Saleh supplied the perfectly placed assist for Ramadan, who slotted the ball home from close range on the left of goal. That was enough to put the UAE in front at the break.

After the re-start, Bahrain tried valiantly to equalise but had few real chances. Hasan headed just inches wide of the target in the 81st minute, and then Marhoon had a free-kick fly over the crossbar three minutes later.

The UAE finally sealed their triumph on the stroke of regular time when they were awarded a spot kick after Ramadan was taken down in the box by Hardan.

Mabkhout stepped forward to take the penalty, and he made no mistake with his attempt, which he sent into the bottom-right of the net.

Group H action resumes in March of next year.

There are five rounds in the FIFA World Cup qualification format for the AFC, which will have eight teams book their tickets to the global showcase, plus potentially another following an inter-confederation play-off.

Thirty-six nations are directly in this second stage, divided into nine groups of four.

The teams will play against each other on a home-and-away basis.

The nine group winners and group runners-up advance to the third round. In addition to this, they will also automatically qualify for the AFC Asian Cup 2027.