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Manama: Coach Miroslav Soukup hailed Bahrain’s “great desire to win” as the former semi-finalists maintained an unbeaten record on the road to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Finals with a dominant 5-0 victory over Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.

The win at Bahrain National Stadium was Bahrain’s second in Group E, although it was by far the most convincing following an opening goalless draw at home to Singapore and 2-1 away win over Turkmenistan.

Komail Al Aswad and Ali Madan scored in the first half for Bahrain before a double from Mahdi Abduljabbar and a further strike from Abdulla Yusuf sealed the win in the second half for the 2004 AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists.

“I’m satisfied with the performance that the players had as the team showed good discipline and character throughout the match,” said Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup.

“I’m happy with what the players showed and want to thank them for the good performance starting from the preparation period until the end of this match.

“The players followed instructions and we worked on the weak points that we had previously which helped us to get this result. The players showed great desire to win right from the start.”

Bahrain are in the hunt for a fifth consecutive AFC Asian Cup finals appearance and the win over Chinese Taipei saw Soukup’s side move three points clear over Turkmenistan at the top of the table.

“Our opponents were not an easy side, but our good preparations and determination helped us to win,” added Soukup, with Bahrain crucially a further point clear of third place Chinese Taipei with three games remaining with the top two securing qualification for the 2019 finals.

“We will continue working in order to achieve our target which is to qualify for the finals.”

Bahrain were able to extend their lead at the top of the table after Turkmenistan shared a 1-1 draw in Singapore.

“We tried to start quickly as we know Singapore are good on their counter attacks,” said Turkmenistan coach Yazguy Hojageldyev after seeing Annadurdyyev Altymayrat’s equaliser with eight minutes remaining earn his side their fourth point of the campaign.

“Their wing-backs Nazrul Nazari and Shakir Hamzah made life difficult for us on the flanks.

“To us, a draw is better than a loss.”

Singapore were denied a first win of the campaign having taken the lead through Shakir Hamzah just after the hour mark.

“The boys were more confident going forward. We should have done better in the last 15 minutes as we were tiring faster than our opponents,” said Singapore coach V. Sundramoorthy.

“We should have scored another goal so that it would have been easier for us to defend the lead.

“For the equaliser, the striker was in between our two defenders and sneaked in from behind. Our two defenders were caught ball watching on this occasion.”

Photos: Football Association of Singapore, Bahrain Football Association

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