Qatar’s Hassan Al Haydos (left) fights for the ball with Bahrain’s Sami Al Hussein during their 2015 AFC Asian Cup qualifying match in Doha, yesterday.
DOHA: Hosts Qatar yesterday failed to score in their inconsequential 2015 Asian Cup qualifying match against neighbouring Bahrain who ended their campaign at the top of Group D following a goalless draw.
Both teams, who are already through to the event finals in Australia, failed to find the net despite the match being played at a fast pace at Al Gharafa Stadium.
Qatar coach Fahad Thani said: “First of all, congratulations to the Bahrain team. We played very well today and I’m pleased with the overall performance of the players. However, (I am) not pleased with the match result.”
He added: “First half was not as I expected, but the second half was better for us as we had more opportunities and chances to score. We didn’t manage to seize these opportunities to score and take advantage of the strong chances that we had. We have already qualified from previous rounds, but our objective today was take the lead in the group.”
The Qatari coach said: “Our young players need friendly matches and training camps to improve their performance and prepare them for the tournament so the plan is to take part in many training camps and play friendly matches with different teams.”
Qatar defender Abdulkarim Hassan attacked in the fourth minute but Bahrain goalkeeper Mohamma Jaffar stopped the pacy shot fired from the edge of the box. Qatar’s Magid Mohammed - after a goal box melee - nearly scored from close range but his scissor kick was parried away by a Bahraini defender in the 24th minute.
Two minutes later, reliable forward Hassan Al Haydos produced a snap-header but his deflection from close range slipped past the goal post.
At the half-hour mark, Bahrain midfielder Mohammed Salmeen picked up a lose ball and charged into the Qatar box where his shot from close range was deflected by goalkeeper Qassim Burhan.
Three minutes from the first-half break, Qatar striker Sebastian Soria produced a snap-header off a free kick but his deflection flew over the Bahrain crossbar. In the 67th minute, Qatar striker Khalfan Ibrahim broke free of his marker but his swerving shot was well saved by Bahrain goalkeeper on the line.
Anthony Hudson, the Bahrain coach, said: “It was an interesting match where the first and second half were very different from one another. First 10 minutes of the first half, Qatar played very well and were very strong, however, after that, Bahrain took the lead in the match and was dominating the match.”
He added: “We lost two important opportunities in the first match. As for the second half, Qatar team was still strong, but we managed to maintain a draw despite having lost our captain due to a muscle cramp.”
Hudson added: “I’m happy with the result because we have already qualified from previous rounds. This is the first time that we qualify while being the lead in the group. Our preparation plan during the summer will include playing several strong friendly matches and conducting training camps to prepare our young players for the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015.”