Group A: Chinese Taipei 2-2 Bahrain
Taipei: Bahrain scored two minutes from time to share the points with Chinese Taipei as the two teams opened their AFC Futsal Championship 2018 Group A campaign with a 2-2 draw at the Xinzhuang Stadium on Thursday.
Mohamed Abdulla opened the scoring for Bahrain in the second half, but the host nation rebounded with goals from Huang Tai-Hsiang and Lin Chih-hung, only for Ali Saleh to score the equaliser two minutes from time.
In a match between equals, Chinese Taipei’s first real chance came only 10 minutes into the match when a quick backpass found Chi Sheng-fa just outside the box but his shot struck the upright.
Bahrain showed that they were fearsome with their set-pieces, but the host nation were disciplined and safely guarded their goalmouth.
A minute into the second half, Chinese Taipei came close to taking the lead with Chi’s through pass into the box but Huang Po Chun failed to connect and the ball was pushed away by goalkeeper Sayed Mohamed.
In the 27th minute, a quick counter led to a one-on-one with Chinese Taipei’s Chiang Hsin Wei but despite sidestepping the keeper, Saleh Anan missed a golden opportunity as he released the ball too late.
Bahrain eventually took the lead when they were awarded a free-kick in the 27th minute, which Mohamed Al Sandi swiftly took and Abdulla’s finishing touch did the trick.
Chinese Taipei kept their composure, and responded with a goal of their own with Chi’s pass into the box saw Huang finding the back of the net with his shot to the top right at the half hour mark.
Jose Adil Amarante’s charges continued to pile on the pressure and six minutes later, Bahrain lost possession after being heavily pressed and Lin, who was unguarded near the halfline mark, hit home for Chinese Taipei to take the lead.
As the match reached its final two minutes, Bahrain activated the power play which immediately bore fruit with Saleh equalising with a near range effort.
On Matchday Two, the hosts will meet Malaysia, while Bahrain face Vietnam on Saturday.
Jose Adil Amarante: Chinese Taipei Head Coach
“There is a feeling that we could have done a little better. But on the positive note, I was happy to see the reaction of the players who were still composed despite going one goal down, and actually scoring two goals to take the lead. Unfortunately, we are paying for the lack of experience in our players. I am expecting a tough game against Malaysia. They have an excellent team, who are more skilled and experienced in futsal. That game can decide everything. It’s an important match and we will be well prepared.”
Adel Marzooq: Bahrain Head Coach
“We were worried because we were playing against the host nation. But in the second half I told the players to open up and not play too defensive. It was a close game from the beginning, we scored the first goal and made a few mistakes that made us concede the two goals. But I’m happy that we came back to equalise. We have two more rounds and we will try to reach the knockout stage. In our next match, we know Vietnam will do their best to win the game because of their loss, but for us, we will be playing for the three points.”