Riffa hit six past Nejmeh
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
A rampant Riffa booked their berth in the knockout stage of the 2023/2024 AFC Cup following a resounding 6-1 victory over Nejmeh SC of Lebanon last night at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.
Komail Al Aswad was on target for the Bahrainis in the first half, and then Majdi Attar, Hashem Sayed Issa twice, Joel Vinicius Silva dos Anjos and Vinicius Vargas all scored in the final 45-minute period.
The result earned Riffa their fourth win in five matches as they improved to 13 points atop the Group C standings.
That, coupled with Al Arabi of Kuwait’s late 1-1 draw with Al Zawra’a of Iraq, ensured Riffa the top spot in their pool and thus their place in the next phase, the zonal semi-finals, with one game still to play.
That will be on 12 December away against Zawra’a at Basra Sport City Stadium in Iraq. In Riffa’s win last night, Al Aswad netted Riffa’s first goal in the 35th minute.
He headed home off a brilliantly lobbed pass from Hazza Ali from beyond a quarter-length of the pitch.
Al Aswad did masterfully to beat the off-side trap and time his move towards goal, and he headed the ball in from close range over Nejmeh goalkeeper Ali El Sabeh.
That was enough to put the Bahrainis in front at the break. Not long after the restart, Riffa doubled their advantage.
Al Aswad was once again involved, this time setting up the perfect assist for Attar, who slotted home with a left-footed effort in the 51st minute.
It was then 3-0 just one minute later after Issa scored with a shot between two Nejmeh defenders from the inside edge of the penalty box, and then dos Anjos made it four for Riffa with a short stab in the 64th minute off a low cross from teammate Vinicius Vargas.
Issa then secured his double in the 72nd minute, but Nejmeh’s Hassan Kourani was able to net a consolation the very next minute.
Vargas then applied the final dagger in the coffin in the 83rd minute with a goal from close range.
The AFC Cup is the annual continental club competition of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for continent’s top club teams not competing in the AFC Champions League.
Riffa are the lone Bahraini outfit in this year’s competition. 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.