Bahrain routed Cambodia (8-0) in the second
second round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 Fifa World Cup 2022 and the AFC Asian Cup 2023, which resumed today after more than a year of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Kingdom hosting the Group C matches.
Kumail Al Aswad struck the first goal eight minutes into the match which was held at Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa, before his teammate Mohammed Al Romaihi doubled the score in the injury time of the first half.
The national squad netted the third goal through Ali Madan in the first minute of the second half (46 mn), before Jassim Al Sheikh struck another in 56th minute.
Ali Madan and Kumail AlAswad shined in the match scored their second goals in 65th mn and 71st mn, while veteran player Islamail Abdullatif struck twice (75 and 90 mns) sealing the victory for Bahrain.
In another match of Group C, Iran beat Hong Kong 3-3 in a match held at Shaikh Ali bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Stadium.
With this victory, Bahrain top the table with 12 points, followed by Iraq (12 pts) from 5 matches, Iran (9 pts), Hong Kong (5 pts) and Cambodia (one).
Led by Portuguese coach Helio Sousa, the national team have two more games ahead of them in their bid to make it to the third round. They will take on Iran on Monday before playing Hong Kong in their final match on June 15. The Iraqi team will take one Cambodia on Monday.
Bahrain drew 0-0 against Iraq at Amman International Stadium in Jordan in November 2019 and 1-1 at Bahrain National Stadium, squandering two precious points after leading 1-0 most of the match.
They beat Cambodia 1-0 in Phnom Penh and pulled a thrilling 1-0 victory against Iran at Bahrain National Stadium before drawing 0-0 against Hong Kong in an away match.
The leaders of each of the eight groups and the best four second-placed teams qualify for the third round of World Cup qualifiers, and book a berth directly to the 2023 Asian Cup finals.
Coach Sousa is banking on the players who won the West Asian Football Federation Championship and the Gulf Cup in 2019 to take Bahrain to the World Cup for the first time in their history.