After a long four-year wait, the AFC Asian Cup is back underway. Host nation UAE met Bahrain in the 2019 edition’s first game and ended up playing an entertaining 1-1 draw. And while some players showed glimpses of their true talent, some couldn’t live up to the mark. We take a look at how the two sides fared.
K. Eisa (7): Didn’t have too much to do in goal in particular, as most of Bahrain’s shots landed off-target. But was still solid whenever called upon.
K. M. Ghanim (6): Did cover his side well in the first half, providing the opposition forwards little space to move. But struggled to deal with the pace and power of the Bahraini forwards on the counter.
A. Saleh (7): Was solid in the centre back position and looked to keep Al Ramaihi within his sights. Would be terribly displeased having conceded the goal via a corner.
A. Salmeen (7): Helped his defensive partner aptly throughout the match and dealt with the opposition forwards with ease.
F. Juma (6): Was solid during most part of the match but did look behind the pace while dealing with counter attacks.
K. Esmail (6): Endured difficulty while deployed in midfield and even earned himself a booking. Gave way to the eventual goalscorer Ahmed Khalil.
A. Abdulrahman (6): Did not stand out in particular and was taken off early in the second half, to be replaced by Mohammed Abdulrahman.
K. Mubarak (6): As his midfield partners, couldn’t put his stamp on the match and struggled to deal with Bahrain’s quick counters.
B. Mohammed (7): Used his pace brilliantly to stretch the opposition defenders and delivered some good crosses in. Looked threatening at times as he moved the ball up and down the pitch.
I. Al Hammadi (6): Blessed with the earliest, and the best, chance of the match, Al Hammadi could have put his side to the best possible start. However, he took too long to shoot and was denied by the Bahrain goalkeeper.
A. Mabkhout (6): Just like his strike partner, was guilty of missing a great chance in the second half as he blasted the ball wide with the goal at his mercy. Meanwhile, the opposition defenders had little trouble dealing with him throughout the match.
S. Rashid (6): Looked lively since coming on in place of Khalfan Mubarak. Was presented with a great opportunity to level the match but shot straight at the goalkeeper.
M. Abdulrahman (6): Replaced his namesake Amer Abdulrahman but couldn’t deliver a standout performance.
A. Khalil (8): UAE’s Mr Reliable. On his 100th appearance for the national side, Ahmed Khalil came off the bench to score the crucial equalizer. Was impressive during his time on the pitch and was always looking to make things happen.
S. Shubbar (7): Made some excellent stops to help his side earn a well-deserved draw. Saved from Al Hammadi and Saif Rashid from point-blank range.
A. Juma (6): Did well for the most part of the match until he had to deal with Saif Rashid and Ahmed Khalil. Nevertheless, was solid throughout.
W. Al Hayam (7): Kept his composure in defence and kept both the UAE strikers at bay. Did get caught out of position on a few occasions but wasn’t punished for it too harshly.
H. Al Shamsan (7): Just like his defence partner, was solid and helped keep the opposition strikers quiet. That is until Ahmed Khalil came in.
J. Rashed (7): Looked good on occasions and helped his side to a massive point.
A. Madan (6): Had a fairly average game and did nothing exceptional. However, helped his team collectively hold a much stronger UAE side.
S. R. Issa (6): The match was begging for someone to step up and take control. However, he couldn’t do it and had an average game in midfield.
A. Ali (6): Was fairly average in the middle of the park as both the sides struggled for central dominance.
S. Dhiya (7): Played his role well as Bahrain stunned the home support by taking a point.
K. Al Aswad (7): Helped his strike partner with his unmatched pace and was a constant source of Bahrain’s counter-attacks.
M. Al Romaihi (8): Was the bane of the UAE defenders throughout the night. Constantly threatening the opposition, Al Romaihi netted his well-deserved goal on the second time of asking, via a corner kick.
S. Al Husaini (N/A): Came on in the 93rd minute.
M. J. Marhoon (N/A): Came on in the 87th minute.
Y. Helal (6): Bahrain’s star man, Yusuf Helal was left on the bench by the manager for their opener. He did come on at the same time as Ahmed Khalil but didn’t have the same impact.