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Sousa, Katanec happy with draw


Manama: Bahrain head coach Hélio Sousa and his Iraq counterpart Srečko Katanec expressed satisfaction with their 1-1 draw in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers on Thursday.

The first step of both teams journey on the road to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 saw Komail Al Aswad give the home side an early lead at the Bahrain National Stadium, only for Mohanad Ali to strike late to give Iraq a share of the points.

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Sousa praised the performance of his players despite Bahrain not repeating their 2019 WAFF Championship final triumph over Iraq.

“We had a good performance and I’m satisfied with the performance of the players,” said Sousa.

“We faced a strong team and they have better individuals who play in different leagues as professional footballers.

“However, they didn’t cause great danger and we are happy with the result,” said Sousa, who will be hoping for three points when Bahrain play Cambodia on Tuesday.

Katanec was equally satisfied, saying getting away with a point was good as the draw was secured late.

“A point is better than nothing from tonight’s match,” said the Slovenian. “I want to congratulate the players for getting an important away point.”

Iraq, however, suffered a blow as midfielder Hussein Ali - who was subsequently diagnosed to have suffered a fracture in his ankle - had to be replaced in the 60th minute.

“To be honest, I don’t know why we suffer such injuries in such matches,” he said. “I have to pray to avoid such injuries in the future.”

The injury could rule Ali out of Iraq's next match, against Hong Kong on October 10.

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