Qualifiers - Group A: Kuwait stun Iraq, Bahrain back on track
Manama: Kuwait scored a stunning win over Iraq while Bahrain kept their hopes of a place in the AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 Finals alive after defeating Palestine in Group A of the West Zone Qualifiers on Friday.
Kuwait defeated 2018 semi-finalists Iraq 4-1 for their third consecutive win to all but seal their place in the Turkmenistan 2020 Finals while Bahrain were too strong for Palestine as the hosts also secured a 4-1.
The top two teams from Groups A and B will qualify for next February's Finals, while the respective third-placed finishers will meet in a play-off match to determine the final ticket from the West Zone.
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Iraq 1-4 Kuwait
Iraq were the favourites heading into the match but it was Kuwait who started the better of the two as they seized control of the game.
After both sides had their fair share of attempts, Ricardo Camara Sobral's side stunned Iraq when they scored twice in the 11th minute.
Forward Yousef Alkhalifah gave Kuwait the lead and Abdulrahman Almosabehi doubled it just seconds later.
It was a deficit Iraq would not recover from despite Fahad Al Azzawi pulling one back in the 25th minute.
Two goals a minute apart saw Kuwait extending their lead even further with Ahmad Alfarsi scoring in the 28th and Abdulrahman Alkhalifah then adding the fourth.
There was a further blow for Iraq in the closing stages of the match with captain Hussein Al Zubaidi sent off.
Kuwait play hosts Bahrain in their final match on Saturday while Iraq will aim to rebound against the United Arab Emirates.
Bahrain 4-1 Palestine
Bahrain revived their hopes for a slot in the 2020 Finals with a 4-1 win over Palestine.
Bahrain, who had to settle for a draw after United Arab Emirates came from behind to hold them 3-3 on Wednesday, took the lead through captain Mohamed Radhi Alsandi in the 12th minute.
Palestine, needing a win to keep their interest alive in the Qualifiers after having suffered back-to-back defeats against UAE and Iraq, fought back and drew level through Rashid Shawahna three minutes later.
Saleh Ahmed Sanjar, however, made sure Bahrain held the edge going into the break when he found the back of the net in the 20th minute.
Palestine valiantly tried to find their way back into the match but it was Bahrain who scored again, finding the net twice in the 33rd minute through Ahmed Abdulnabi Hamad and Ali Ahmed Almalki to secure a valuable three points.
Photos: Bahrain Football Association
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