This is a group that featured one dead rubber and a game that would determine who would finish on top.
Iran eventually came up trumps against an impressive United Arab Emirates in a tense match. Indeed if the UAE were more clinical in front of goal they could have topped Group C but instead it was Iran who dug deep and conjured up a winner in the dying moments of the game.
The other match was a battle for the wooden spoon and it was 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar who eventually went home empty handed. The Bahrainis extended their unbeaten run against Qatar having not lost the previous 13 encounters between the two.
Once again, the AFC Asian Cup witnessed definitive results in both matches. That makes it 22 games without a stalemate it truly is a quite remarkable statistic.
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Bahrain 2 Qatar 1
The Bahrainis exited the Asian Cup with three points courtesy of a long range effort from Sayed Ahmed Jaffar eight minutes from time. ‘Long range effort’ is a generous description of the goal as much of it owed to a misjudgment from Qatari keeper Qasem Burhan.
In fact at both ends of the pitch the woodwork seemed more secure and reliable than either goalkeeper coming to the aid of both Bahrain and Qatar.
The opening goal did come from a moment of quality produced by Faouzi Aaish who jinked his way into the penalty box before setting up a chance for Sayed Dhiya Shubbar who still had a bit of work to do to find the corner of the Qatari net.
The Qatari equalizer came from a moment of ingenuity from Hasan Al-Haydos. He gambled on hitting his free kick low and the Bahraini wall obligingly jumped over the shot leaving keeper Hamad Al-Doseri with little chance.
In fairness the Qataris had the better of the 90 minutes, out passing their opponents and taking the initiative. They bossed possession and had 18 shots with five on target. Unfortunately, their lack of a clinical edge cost them and in the 82nd minute Sayed Ahmed Jaffar’s hopeful effort caught Qasem Burhan off guard with the Qatari keeper deceived by the flight of the ball. By the time he readjusted it was too late.