Bahrain 0 - Australia 1

Brain goal gives Aussie World Cup final berth

IT WAS a disappointing night for Bahraini soccer fans when the juniors soccer team gave away their last chance for a place in the World Cup finals, losing to Oceania champions Australia in the World Cup qualifier decider held last night at the Bahrain National Stadium.

Losing 1-2 to Australia two weeks ago, a 1-0 victory for Bahrain would have been enough to secure berth in the finals. However, the performance of the home side was absolutely disappointing for the huge crowd that witnessed the game and came from all around the island, although the match was shown live on television and radio as well. The crucial match was held under the patronage of President of the General Organisation for Youth and Sports and was attended by President of the Bahrain Football Association Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, sports officials and a large crowd which supported the team despite the bad performance.

Despite playing under extremely hot weather conditions and high humidity, the Aussies' performance was brilliant and were not affected by the weather circumstances. On the contrary, it was the home side who looked rather tired and tension which helped the visitors to keep control of the game.

Playing a defensive 5-3-2 formation, Bahrain were not able to make any impressive attempts, especially in the first half stage as the visitors managed to cool down the play, kill time as much as possible and depend on counter-attack play which worked out very well with them.

Bahrain made number of crucial efforts through Ala'a Hubil and Anwar Yousif which missed the last tough. The home side suffered major setback when their top striker Ala'a Hubil was injured and substituted by another striker Ahmed Hassan.

But a combination of the lack of attacking potentials and poor defending gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute when striker Louis Brain took full advantage of a blunder in the Bahrain defence and poor rushing out by goalkeeper Hussain Ali enabled him to lob the ball over the goalie and give his side a glorious lead.

With a goal conceded, Bahrain needed three goals to make their way through to the finals. National coach, Mubarak Johar gave his team some instructions to pile the pressure on the Australians.

Surprisingly, the Bahrain juniors continued to play without concentration and with more individual efforts on the resumption which helped the Aussies to keep their lead alive.

Unfortunately, Bahrain were back to the game in the last 15 minute when they managed to make some attacking attempts which troubled the Aussies' defence, marshaled by captain Mark Byrnes.

Bahrain's coach Mubarak was forced to make another substitution when he fielded Isa Bahram in place of injured captain Adel Al Nuaimi. Bahrain were able to make some attempts through Hussain Baba and Anwar Yousif which were useless. Australia are in the finals on November and will play Brazil, Germany and Mali.

written by the Bahrain Tribune