November 27, 2011

[EN] Malaysia 2-3 Bahrain

Kuala Lumpur: Bahrain reignited their hopes of a place at the 2012 Olympic Games in stunning fashion on Sunday when they overcame a two-goal deficit and the second-half sending-off Fahad Showaiter to defeat Malaysia 3-2 in their Group C clash at Bukit Jalil Stadium.

With both sides still looking for their first points of the campaign it was Bahrain who dominated possession in the opening exchanges of the third match in the third round of Asian qualifyiers.

However, Salman Sharida's charges couldn't create any real goal scoring opportunities and it was Malaysia that took the lead in the 29th minute through Muhammad Nazmi's magnificent long-range effort.

Diminutive midfielder Nazmi, who at 17 was the youngest member of Malaysia's 2011 SEA Games gold medal winning squad, got the better of Bahrain's Mahdi Ali and created the space to unleash an unstoppable shot from 30-yards out that swerved past the despairing dive of keeper Ashraf Al Sabaie and into the top corner.

Bahrain's hopes of getting back into the game were dealt a blow just on the hour mark when Fahad Showaiter was red carded for dangerous two-footed lunge at Affizie Faisal Mamat before Malaysia extended their advantage nine minutes later courtesy of a goalkeeping error from Al Sabaie and a touch of good fortune with the spin of the ball.

An attempted clearance from Mohamed Al Hayam spun into the air and should have been caught by Al Sabaie but the Bahrain keeper took his eye off the ball and it bounced off his chest and into the path of Amer Saidin, who struck the ball goalwards.

The ball hit the shin of Al Hayam and then the underside of the crossbar, crossing the line on its way down before the Bahrain defender put the ball into the roof of the net as he tried to clear with an acrobatic overhead.

It was a an impressive overhead that saw Bahrain reduce the deficit in the 80thminute with Saad Al Amer pulling one back with a wonderfully executed bicycle-kick that looped over the previously untested Khairul Fahmie before the Kelantan keeper was beaten again four minute later with a superbly take free-kick from Isa Al Ahmed.

Malaysia were only just coming to terms with seeing their two-goal lead wiped out when Bahrain quickly regained possession following the restart and from Al Amer's dangerous cutback Al Ahmed fired home the winning goal just two minutes later.

Bahrain's remarkable comeback moved them to within three points of second-place Syria, who lost 2-1 to Japan that saw the East Asians maintain their 100% record with three matches left to play.