*** ----> Bahrain barge into semis at 21st Asian Men’s Handball Championship | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain barge into semis at 21st Asian Men’s Handball Championship

TDT | Manama                                                     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Bahrain booked their berth last night in the semi-finals of the 21st Asian Men’s Handball Championship, currently being hosted by the Kingdom.

The nationals claimed their place with a sensational 33-29 victory over South Korea in their concluding assignment of Group Two in the tournament’s main round.

Star goalkeeper Mohammed Abdulhussain was named Best Player of the Game.

Bahrain Olympic Committee (BOC) vice-president His Highness Shaikh Isa bin Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, BOC secretary general Faris Al Kooheji, and Bahrain Handball Association president and BOC member Ali Issa were present along with other high-ranking officials at the contest, which was played at a packed and rocking Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town.

Bahrain will now face Japan in the final four, while five-time defending champions Qatar will take on Kuwait.

All four semi-finalists have also secured their places in the 2025 IHF World Men’s Handball Championship, to be held in Croatia, Denmark, and Norway.

The round of four is set to take place tomorrow, with Qatar and Kuwait battling at 4pm in an all-Gulf clash, to be followed by Bahrain playing Japan at 6.30pm.

The Kuwaitis booked their place in the semis after defeating Iraq 32-20 in yesterday’s other divisional fixture.

Meanwhile, in Group One, the Qataris were held to a 28-all draw by the Japanese.

The pair had already secured their places in the final four heading into the match, and the result earned the Qataris first place on their group table.

In Bahrain’s win over the ninetime title winners, they led early but South Korea stayed close.

A Mohammed Habib Ahmed goal gave the hosts a slim 12-10 advantage, and then inspirational skipper Hussain Al Sayyad scored from the nine-metre line, followed by a Qassim Qambar conversion on a fast-break that stretched their lead to four. The Bahrainis headed into the break up 17-14.

Striking distance

After the interval, Al Sayyad put Bahrain up 20-15 early on, but the South Koreans would not go away, staying within striking distance and getting to within two, 21-23, nearing the second half’s midway point.

Goals from Ahmed Al Maqabi, Mohammed Habib Nasser and Mujtaba Al Zaimour helped the Bahrainis stay afloat, and then the South Koreans made their last stand after cutting the deficit to 29-32 heading into the final two minutes.

But Abdulhussain made a couple of brilliant saves to help the Bahrainis preserve their advantage, and then Al Sayyad pegged the final score with a conversion from the six-metre line.

Al Sayyad finished as Bahrain’s leading scorer with an impressive 10 goals, while Nasser contributed four.

Qambar, Al Maqabi, Al Zaimour, and Hassan Al Fardan all chipped in with three goals apiece.

Jeongu Kang paced South Korea with seven goals, while Yeonbin Kim added six.

In Qatar’s stalemate against Japan, it was a tight battle throughout.

The Qataris held a 16-12 advantage at the half, but the Japanese roared back and tied it at 25-all with a Shinnosuk Tokuda conversion and under seven minutes to play.

Ahmed Madadi then converted with three minutes left to give Qatar a 28-27 advantage, but Japan salved a share of the points with a Shuichi Yoshida goal with just five seconds to play.

Both teams finished with five points atop the Group One standings, with Qatar boasting the superior goal difference.

Tokuda was named the Best Player of the Game for the Japanese.