The Bahraini national team will play a tough and strong confrontation against the host country, Malaysia, on Saturday at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, in the second round of Group E of the final round of qualifiers for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Malaysia leads the group with three points, with a goal difference from Bahrain, while Turkmenistan and Bangladesh occupy the last two places without any point, knowing that they meet before the other match on the same stadium.
The Bahraini team started its campaign with a 2-0 victory over Bangladesh, while the owner of the land and the public achieved a 3-1 victory over Turkmenistan.
Twenty-four teams are competing for the remaining 11 cards that qualify for the continental championship, after ensuring 13 presence in the finals.
The third round teams were divided into six groups, and the grouping system will be held in six countries on June 8, 11 and 14, and in only three rounds, not the traditional six back and forth.
The first-placed team in each group will qualify for the Asian Cup, along with the five best second-placed teams.
The Bahraini national team is led by Portuguese coach Helio Sousa, who has the advantage through the presence of a group of prominent players led by his veteran goalkeeper Sayed Muhammad Jaafar, along with defenders Walid Al-Hayyam and Amin bin Uday and players from the sides, Reda Al-Sayed Issa and Rashid Al-Houti, and in the middle of the field Ali Haram and Jassim Al-Sheikh, along with them Camille Al-Aswad and Muhammad Jassim Mortgaged and attackers Abdullah Yousef and Hashem El-Sayed Issa.
The Bahraini team was the best party in its first meeting, and it could have come out with an abundance of goals had it not been for the ingenuity of goalkeeper Anis Rahman and the skill of Bahrain players in wasting easy opportunities.
On the other hand, the Malaysian team, led by South Korean coach Kim Ban-joon, is relying on the weapons of the land and the public, and is aware of the importance of the meeting and striving to get the best result against the strong Bahraini team to qualify for the finals for the first time after it hosted with three countries the finals of the 2007 edition.
Bahrain participated six times in the continental championship, most notably in 2004 when it finished fourth, after losing to Japan, who later won the title, after the extension 4-3.
– Kuwait for compensation and Palestine for a second victory –
In the first group, the host Kuwait team seeks to compensate for its stumbling opening and maintain its hopes of qualifying when it receives Nepal, while Jordan seeks to achieve the second victory when it faces Indonesia.
And the “blue” suffered a historic defeat against submerged Indonesia 1-2 on Wednesday, the first in the course of the confrontations between the two teams, to put itself in a difficult position and become required to beat Nepal and Jordan in its next two matches.
Jordan leads the standings with a goal difference against Indonesia, while Kuwait occupies third place without points in front of the losing Nepal, opening in front of “Al-Nashami” 2-0.
Kuwait coach, Vaclav Lavica, who leads the national team on a 4-month temporary contract that ends with the conclusion of the qualifiers, must correct the mistakes made in the Indonesia match.
Lavika attributed the loss to the loss of focus, stressing that everyone bears the responsibility.
In the press conference after the match, he said that he and his players are looking forward to overcoming the loss and correcting the situation, stressing that the opportunity exists to achieve the goal and reach the finals.
It is expected that the coach will make several changes to the squad that started the first meeting and give the opportunity to participate from the beginning to more than one player such as Mubarak Al-Finini and Ahmed Al-Dhafiri in the middle. He is also expected to make one or more changes in the defense line, which appeared shaky and his mistakes caused the team to receive two goals.
For his part, the Nepal team, led by Kuwaiti coach Abdullah Al-Mutairi, is looking forward to achieving another surprise in the qualifiers and repeating what his Indonesian counterpart did by exploiting the psychological state of the Kuwaiti players and public pressure.
In the second match, Jordan hopes to set foot in the finals by defeating Indonesia, which has the same ambition.
His expert Iraqi coach, Adnan Hamad, realizes that his team must win in order to enter the Kuwait match in the last round in a comfortable position, and he may have qualified for qualification based on the outcome of the other match.
Hamad saw that his opponent’s victory over the owners of the land changed the group’s calculations, and that he imposed himself within the qualification equation.
He added, “The Indonesia team is organized and has professional players in the Belgian league, and has prepared well for the qualifiers, and we have to provide the level required to win and move forward in the lead.”
In the second group, the Palestinian team seeks to achieve its second victory when it meets its Yemeni counterpart.
Palestine leads the group after its opening victory over host Mongolia 1-0, while Yemen tied 1-1 with the Philippines.
The Palestinian team participated for the first time in the finals in 2015 when it was eliminated from the group stage, similar to the last edition in 2019 in the UAE. Yemen made its first appearance in 2019 when it was eliminated from the group stage with three defeats.
The teams of China, Japan, Syria, defending champion Qatar, South Korea, Australia, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Vietnam and Lebanon, had qualified for it.