Erbil: Kuwait and Bahrain set up a virtual winner-takes-all showdown for a place in the 2019 WAFF Championship Final after they both claimed draws in their respective Group B matches in Iraq on Wednesday.
Kuwait drew 1-1 with Jordan, while Bahrain played out a goalless stalemate against Saudi Arabia, meaning the two sides – both on four points - will meet in Saturday’s final group match in the knowledge that a win will guarantee a place in next Wednesday’s final.
While Kuwait and Bahrain can dream of silverware, Wednesday’s results mean neither Jordan nor Saudi Arabia can advance beyond the group stage.
Ibrahim looking to deepen Syria’s pool ahead of Asian Qualifiers
Karbala: Fajr Ibrahim wants results at the 2019 WAFF Championship, but the Syrian head coach is also using the tournament as an audition process for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers.
Having gone closer than ever to reaching the 2018 FIFA World Cup Finals in Russia, Syria have cause to be optimistic about reaching Qatar, despite a largely disappointing run of results in 2019.
While star Saudi-based attacking duo Omar Al Soma and Omar Khribin were instrumental in the previous campaign, Ibrahim is using the 2019 WAFF Championship to give a number of fringe and home-based players the chance to press their case for selection.
Erbil: Kuwaiti stalwart Bader Al Mutawa hopes his side’s 2019 WAFF Championship campaign will be the first step on the road back to the top table of Asian football, after they began their campaign with a 2-1 win against Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Romeo Jozak’s side made what most would consider a dream start to life in Erbil, recovering from the concession of an early Rabee Sufyani goal to beat a youthful Saudi side, with Faisal Ajab emerging as the matchwinner.
The win was Kuwait’s first against a national team in 2019, and first outside of their homeland since 2015 after they spent nearly two years out of the international game.
Al Khatib rescues Syria as chances slip away in back-to-back draws
Karbala: Four sides took to Karbala Sports City, but none emerged victorious, as Syria and Yemen, then Palestine and Lebanon played out draws on Matchday Three of Group A action at the 2019 WAFF Championship in Iraq on Monday.
It was the team enjoying a rest day, Iraq, who benefitted most from the two results, retaining their status as Group A leaders while holding a game in hand on both Palestine and Lebanon.
Both of Monday’s goals came in the earlier match between Syria and Yemen, where evergreen forward Firas Al Khatib scored a second-half equaliser to cancel out Yemen’s opener.
Ould Ali’s Palestine building towards Asian Qualifiers
Karbala: Their bid for a first WAFF Championship title is far from over, but Palestine head coach Noureddine Ould Ali has one eye on his side’s Asian Qualifiers campaign for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023, which begins in September.
A 1-0 opening match win against Yemen in Group A was followed up by a late 2-1 defeat to hosts Iraq on Friday in a mixed start to the regional championship, giving the Palestinians little room for error if they are to advance to the final on August 14.
But even if Palestine’s WAFF Championship tilt ends at the group stage, Ould Ali sees the competition as important preparation for the crucial Asian Qualifiers to come.
Erbil: Kuwait came from behind to earn an impressive 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia, while a single goal from Ismaeel Abdullatif was enough to secure victory for Bahrain over Jordan, as Group B of the 2019 WAFF Championship began in Iraq on Sunday.
SAUDI ARABIA 1-2 KUWAIT
Kuwait, champions in 2010, recovered from a slow start to take a successful first step in this year’s edition, coming from behind to beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in an entertaining clash at Frasno Hariri Stadium.
The Kuwaitis emerged victorious in a match which produced three goals, two penalties and a late red card to secure their first international win of 2019, and continue their perfect record in WAFF Championship opening matches
Late wins for Iraq and Lebanon on night of comebacks
Karbala: Hosts Iraq came from behind to maintain their perfect record, while Lebanon produced late heroics of their own to beat Syria on the second day of Group A action at the 2019 WAFF Championship on Friday.
PALESTINE 1-2 IRAQ
Iraq continued their perfect start to their home championship, recovering from the concession of an early Islam Batran spot-kick to eventually prevail 2-1 at Karbala Sports City.