x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Macala's relief after Iraq rally

The Bahrain coach Milan Macala felt his team were fortunate not to be punished for their errors as they defeated nine-man Iraq 3-1 in their opening Group A match.

Hussein Ali Baba of Bahrain, left, clears the ball spectacularly as Iraq's Yunes Mahmud tries to get out of the way.
Hussein Ali Baba of Bahrain, left, clears the ball spectacularly as Iraq's Yunes Mahmud tries to get out of the way.

MUSCAT // The Bahrain coach Milan Macala felt his team were fortunate not to be punished for their errors as they defeated nine-man Iraq 3-1 in their opening Group A match at the Gulf Cup in Oman last night. Goals by Abdullah Omar, Sayed Mohamad Adnan and substitute Abdullah Al Dakeel gave Bahrain all three points against the Asian Cup holders, who had Haitham Kadhem sent off in the first half and goalkeeper Noor Sabri dismissed 25 minutes from time.

"We know the tournament will be very hard because all the teams want to win the title," said Macala. "I'm happy with the win but we made a lot of mistakes. "We should have taken good advantage of our numerical superiority. "However, Iraq managed to pull a goal back before we sealed the win late in the game." The Iraq assistant coach Rahim Hameed was left to rue the dismissals of Kadhem and Sabri, which ultimately proved costly for his side. "We are used to playing under big pressure and in big matches but things didn't go our way today," he said. "All the players were ready for the match but the situations that we had in the game cost us."

However, Hameed is hopeful his team will bounce back. "Despite losing the first match we still have a chance to qualify for the next stage especially after the scoreless draw between Oman and Kuwait," he said. * PA Sport