BAHRAIN will be looking for an emphatic victory over Australia today in their last Group ‘A’ match (starting 4.15pm Bahrain time) of the AFC Under-23 Championship in Bangkok as a handsome win can help them move into the knockout stage.
Bahrain bounced back from their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Thais in their first game of the competition to take a point from their meeting with the Iraqis, leaving Samir Chammam and his team needing to win against the Australians to advance.
Victory would move the newly crowned Gulf Cup champions onto four points and ahead of Australia with a better head-to-head record while only one of Thailand or Iraq could finish above Chammam’s team no matter the result of their clash in the other Group ‘A’ match to be played at the same time.
Australia top the group with four points, Thailand are second with three, Iraq are on two and Bahrain at the bottom with a solitary point.
The top three teams in this championship qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games along with hosts Japan.
Bahrain completed their preparations yesterday with a hour-long training session and exuded confidence.
“Everyone is determined to engage strongly in today’s game. Our goal is to win and qualify for the last eight,” said Ahmed Saleh, one of the key players in the team. He stressed the importance of today’s game and added that their performance against Iraq had boosted their confidence.
Meanwhile, the Aussie coach Graham Arnold wants his players to go into today’s clash mentally refreshed as they seek the draw that will take them into the quarter-finals and keep alive hopes of a place at the Tokyo Olympics, their first since 2008.
Arnold’s team followed up an opening round draw against Iraq with a 2-1 win over tournaments hosts Thailand and those results mean a point will be enough to secure a last eight berth for the Australians.
The Bahrain team: Abdul Rahman Al Ahmadi; Faisal Ebrahim; Hamza Al Jubn; Hassan Al Karrani; Ahmed Al Shoroogi; Hussain Jameel; Ahmed Saleh; Mohammed Al Hardan; Abdul Aziz Khalid; Adnan Fawwaz; Mohammed Marhoon; Hamad Shamsan; Sayed Hashim Isa; Hassan Madan; Ahmed Fadhil; Abbas Al Asfour; Sayed Mohammed Amin; Jassim Khlaif; Yousuf Habib; Ahmed Bo Ghammar; Anwar Ahmed; Salem Adel; Ammar Mohammed
Coach: Samir Chamman.