Qualifiers - Group A: Kuwait stay perfect, flying start for Iraq
Manama: Kuwait scored their second successive win while Iraq got their bid to qualify for the AFC Futsal Championship Turkmenistan 2020 off to a brilliant start in Group A of the West Zone Qualifiers on Thursday.
Iraq defeated Palestine 6-3 while Kuwait saw off United Arab Emirates 4-1 at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Manama.
The top two teams from Groups A and B will qualify for next February's Finals, and the respective third-place finishers will meet in a play-off match to determine the final ticket from the West Zone.
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Palestine 3-6 Iraq
Palestine, having lost 7-1 to Kuwait on Wednesday, played a tighter game against Iraq and stunned their opponents by taking the lead in the fourth minute through Rashid Shawahna.
It was a lead they held till the 11th minute with Iraq drawing level through Tareq Zeyad Sulaiman and the scoreline remained going into the break.
A second half blitz had seen Palestine losing to Kuwait and the scenario was repeated as 2018 semi-finalists Iraq raced to a 3-1 lead with Waleed Khalid Al-Mayali scoring back-to-back goals in the 22nd and 23rd minutes.
Shawahna narrowed the deficit almost immediately with his second goal for Palestine and Mohammad Hamada added a third in the 28th but Ghaith Riyadh Arab scored two quick goals in the 28th and 31st minutes to give Iraq a comfortable 5-3 lead.
Al-Mayali confirmed the points for Iraq when he completed his hat-trick in the 37th minute.
Iraq will play Kuwait on Friday while Palestine face hosts Bahrain.
Kuwait 4-1 UAE
Kuwait took a step closer to the 2020 Finals after scoring a 3-1 win over United Arab Emirates in Group A's second match on Thursday.
Having strolled to victory against Palestine on Wednesday, Kuwait had to dig deep against a UAE side who had started their campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Bahrain on Matchday One.
Abdulrahman Alwadi, who scored a hat-trick against Palestine, put Kuwait ahead in the third minute and it would prove to be a lead they had to protect as UAE came surging at them.
UAE's efforts were rewarded in the 16th minute when Tariq Abdulla drew them level but Abdulaziz Albasam replied instantly for Kuwait as he restored their lead a minute later.
Both sides pressed hard for goals in the second half but it was Kuwait who scored again, with Aldulrahman Altawail finding the back of the net in the 30th minute and Ahmad Alfarsi completing the win with his effort five minutes later.
Photos: Bahrain Football Association
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