Bahrain, South Korea, Thailand complete Round of 16 roster

Bahrain, South Korea, Thailand complete Round of 16 roster

By QLNews

Abdulla Yusuf hit the only goal of the game as Bahrain handed Jordan a 1-0 defeat in their Group E game of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday.

The win took Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side into the tournament’s last 16 as winners of Group E. Yusuf struck 11 minutes before half time to earn the Bahrainis their second win in three games and, with six points, they topped the standings ahead of South Korea and Jordan, who also qualified.

Malaysia scored deep into added time to hold South Korea to a thrilling 3-3 draw in Group E at the Al Janoub Stadium.

For Malaysia, the result meant ending their campaign on a high after having suffered defeats to Jordan and Bahrain. 

In Group F, Saudi Arabia and Thailand shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw at the Education City Stadium.

The result, coupled with Oman’s 1-1 draw against Kyrgyzstan in the other Group F match, meant the Green Falcons confirmed the top spot in the group and Thailand finished second.

Kyrgyzstan and Oman, who played out a 1-1 draw at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, exited the tournament in the process.

A late goal from Kyrgyz Republic’s Joel Kojo cancelled out Muhsen Al Ghassani’s opener. Indonesia proved to be the biggest beneficiaries of the draw as the Southeast Asian side advanced as one of the best four third-placed finishers. 

The Jordanians had been on top of the group going into the game against Bahrain, but striker Mousa Al Tamari started on the bench as Houssanine Ammouta made five changes to the team that earned a 2-2 draw with South Korea.

Both teams had a few chances to score, but it took until the 34th minute for the deadlock to be broken, with the Bahrainis doing so in style.

Yusuf timed his run from the halfway line to perfection, latching on to Komail Al Aswad’s pass through the middle to bear down on goal before stroking a right footed shot into the bottom corner of Abulaila’s goal.

The Bahrainis came out in the second half looking to add to their lead, with Ali Madan shooting over the bar and Marhoon narrowly beaten by the ever-alert Abulaila.

Malaysia played like a side possessed against South Korea, as they were intent on leaving with their heads held high.

Despite dominating possession from the first blow of the whistle, South Korea took 15 minutes to register their first shot on target.

The Koreans took the lead in the 20th as Jeong rose highest to nod home from a corner kick. Malaysian custodian Syihan looked to have clawed the ball out, but a VAR check determined that the ball had already crossed the line.

Holding the lead and with Malaysia content to defend deep, the Taeguk Warriors took the pace out of the game with controlled possession for the rest of the half. 

Malaysia equalised six minutes into the second half when Darren Lok stole the ball off Hwang In-beom. Arif Aiman’s initial shot was blocked, but Faisal Halim got on the rebound and scored from an acute angle.

Malaysia then took the lead in the 58th after VAR check confirmed Seol Young-woo’s foul on Arif in the penalty box, with the Johor Darul Ta’zim player stepping up to tuck away the ensuing penalty.

The Korean onslaught came to fruition minutes from the end when Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Lee Kang-in produced a wonderful free-kick that Syihan was unable to keep out of the net.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side thought they had won the game in the second minute of stoppage time when Junior Eldstal’s foul on Oh Hyeon-gyu was picked up by a VAR review, and Son converted the spot-kick.

However, Malaysia capped a wonderful performance when substitute Romel Morales struck at the very end of stoppage time, sending the ball straight into the bottom corner to snatch a deserved point.

Oman, who needed a win to confirm their knockout stage spot, settled quickly and went ahead in the eighth minute through Al Ghassani.

Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Erzhan Tokotaev could only parry Jameel Al Yahmadi’s free-kick, with Al Ghassani taking advantage of the ensuing chaos to slot the ball home.

Boosted by the goal, Oman took a firm grip on proceedings with Kyrgyzstan having to work hard to not concede again. 

Kyrgyzstan started the second half with more determination and thought they had restored parity when substitute Beknaz Almazbekov’s cross into the penalty box was neatly headed in by forward Kojo, only to have it overturned by the VAR.

Oman ramped up the pressure, but it was Kyrgyzstan who scored in the 80th, Kojo taking advantage of a Khalid Al Braiki error to net the equaliser.

That set the stage for a grandstand finish, with both sides trying desperately to find the winning goal. But it was to no avail and their respective campaigns came to a screeching halt.

Head coach Roberto Mancini made nine changes to the Saudi starting XI that beat Kyrgyzstan 2-0 in the previous match. He also gave a debut for goalkeeper Raghed Najjar.

The Saudis had a golden opportunity to take the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when defender Suphan Thongsong pushed Abdulrahman Ghareeb inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot following a VAR review. Young striker Abdullah Radif stepped up, but his effort from the penalty was denied by goalkeeper Saranon Anuin.

A few minutes later, Thailand thought they had opened the scoring when Teerasak Poeiphimai’s diving header beat goalkeeper Raghed Najjar, but the forward was deemed offside. A similar incident at the other end saw a Radif goal chalked off for offside just seconds later.

For the third time in the game, the ball found the back of the net only for the goal to be ruled out for an offside. This time, it was Thailand’s Worachit Kanitsribampen who strayed beyond the last defender.

Saudi Arabia ramped up the pressure after the restart with Ghareeb the liveliest on the pitch, breaking into the Thai penalty box on a couple of occasions and firing from distance only to be denied by Anuin.

Saudi Arabia’s Talal Haji then made history after coming in as a second-half substitute at the age of 16 years and 131 days, becoming the second-youngest player to appear at the AFC Asian Cup after Syria’s Munaf Ramadan (16 years and 45 days vs Saudi Arabia in 1988).

He nearly marked his continental debut with a goal when he met Nasser Al Dawsari’s cross with a towering header from close-range but was denied by the Thai goalkeeper.

Despite a flurry of half-chances, neither side was able to break the deadlock and the game ended goalless.


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