His Majesty King Hamad crowned Riffa as the 42nd King Cup champions after they defeated Al Hidd 2-1 in the final at Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa last night.
Riffa claimed their fifth King Cup title in a dramatic turnaround after trailing 0-1 until injury time. They were on the verge of a heart-breaking loss when Kumail Al Aswad rose to the occasion and netted an equaliser in the dying minutes of the match. They played with renewed energy in the extra time and scored the winner in the 103rd minute through Ali Haram.
Al Hidd were reduced to 10 men when Saad Al Amer received a second yellow card for wearing a mask to celebrate his goal in the 67th minute.
Al Hidd were too hot for Riffa in the first half, when they came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. They almost scored in the 18th minute when Ahmed Falamarzi’s shot inside the penalty area hit the bar.
Riffa fans too had their share of excitement in the 32nd minute when Al Aswad’s kick from Hidd’s goal area in the 32nd minute was cleared by Hidd defenders at the last moment.
The excitement reached a crescendo in the 67th minute when Hidd’s Al Amer headed the ball which sailed into the goal after deflecting from Riffa goalkeeper Abdulkareem Al Fardan.
Al Amer’s joy was short-lived as he was sent off forthwith for wearing a mask during his goal celebration.
Riffa looked to take advantage of a 10-man Hidd and went all out for an equaliser. Hidd, however, fought bravely and raised hopes of a victory. Riffa’s nervous moments in the injury time gave way to joy of relief when Al Aswad, who received the ball inside the box area, sent a powerful shot into the goal past Al Hidd’s defender Sayed Mohammed Adnan.
The new-found energy helped Riffa dominate the first extra time and they scored the winner in the 103rd minute when Ali Haram sent the ball into the left side of Al Hidd goalkeeper Abbas Ahmed.
His Majesty, who patronised the final, was welcomed by the King’s representative for Charity Work and Youth Affairs, Supreme Council for Youth and Sports (SCYS) chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, SCYS first deputy chairman and Bahrain Athletics Association president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Youth and Sports Affairs Minister Ayman Tawfiq Al Moayyad and Bahrain Football Association (BFA) president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al Khalifa.
Ministers, senior officials and heads of sports associations were also present.
The King congratulated Riffa on the victory and praised the players’ performance.