By MAZIN RIZK
Bahrain will be looking forward to reigniting their stuttering campaign when they take on the Philippines tomorrow in the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asia Cup qualifiers at the Bahrain National Stadium at 6pm.
Bahrain are currently in fourth place with just three points from four games and yet to recover from a 0-4 defeat to Uzbekistan in their last match at the National Stadium last Thursday.
On the same day, the Philippines grabbed a precious point against group leaders North Korea following a 0-0 draw in Pyongyang.
The Philippines are third with seven points from four games while undefeated North Korea top Group ‘H’ with 10 points from four matches. Uzbekistan are second with nine points from same number of matches.
The fifth team in the group Yemen are yet to score a point after four matches.
The top eight in each of the eight groups will qualify for the third round of the World Cup qualifiers and also gain direct entry to the 2019 Asia Cup to be held in the UAE along with the four best second-placed teams.
The remaining three teams in the eight groups will continue to battle for a place in the 2019 Asia cup.
Tomorrow’s match will be officiated by Iraqi referee Mohannad Qassem and he will be assisted by linesmen Mohammed Moayad and Adeeb Loay while Mohammed Abdulla is the fourth official.
The Asian Football Association (AFC) have also named Iranian Omid Gamal the match supervisor and Saudi Arabia’s Khalil Al Ghamdy the referee’s evaluator.
Coaches of both teams will hold an official pre-match conference today at the National Stadium. The Philippines coach Thomas Dooley’s Press conference starts at 5.30pm and it will be followed by Bahrain coach Sergio Batista’s at 6.30pm.
Dooley will then lead his team to a closed door one hour training session at 6pm while Batista will follow suit at 7pm.
Bahrain will go into the match with the same set of players who took on Uzbekistan.
The two teams have previous met only once and that was in the same campaign on June 11, 2015, in Manila. It was Batista’s first official match as Bahrain coach and the Philippines won it 2-1.
Source : Gulf Daily News