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AFC Asian Cup 2019: How India's opponents Bahrain performed in their last five fixtures

12:44 PM SGT 7/5/18
Bahrain Gulf Cup 2017-18
Bahrain have been look good of late under coach Miroslav Soukup...

Having been drawn in Group A of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the Indian team find themselves pitted alongside hosts UAE, Thailand and Bahrain. Currently ranked 116th in the FIFA ladder, Bahrain is one of the two teams ranked below India in the group with Thailand (122) being the other.

Coached by Czech Republic’s Miroslav Soukup, Bahrain finished top of their group comprising of Turkmenistan, Singapore and Chinese Taipei in the third qualifying round to book their place in the 2019 Asian Cup. The side has performed decently in their last five international fixtures to make a jump of nine places in the latest FIFA rankings.

They made to the semi-finals of the eight-nation Gulf Cup of Nations at the start of the year where they were eliminated by eventual champions Oman. Most recently, they sealed a top place finish in Group E of the final qualifying round of AFC Asian Cup with a 4-0 thumping of Turkmenistan who have also qualified for the main event.


1. 2017-18 Gulf Cup of Nations: YEMEN 0-1 BAHRAIN


Having had started their tournament campaign with a 1-1 draw against Iraq in Group B, Bahrain were up against Yemen in the clash on December 23, 2017. In an evenly contested first-half, Bahrain were awarded a penalty in the 39th minute which Jamal Rashed  duly stepped up to convert.

Bahrain had more of the chances in the second-half but were unable to add to their lead as Rashed's spot-kick proved enough for a victory.


2. 2017-18 Gulf Cup of Nations: QATAR 1-1 BAHRAIN


Coming into the final Group B clash held on December 29, 2017, Bahrain needed just a draw against Qatar to confirm their progression to the last-four.

They did exactly just that in a topsy turvy match where the tempers were flowing. Qatar took the lead in the game after being awarded a controversial penalty in first-half stoppage-time. Hassan Khalid stepped up to make it 1-0 before Ali Madan snatched an equaliser for Bahrain in the 57th minute.

Qatar's goal-scorer was then given his marching orders in the 90th minute for a second booking as Bahrain held on to the draw to book their place in the semi-finals.


3. 2017-18 Gulf Cup of Nations Semi-final: OMAN 1-0 BAHRAIN


Bahrain were up against Oman in the semi-final of the tournament held on January 2, 2018. In a match where Soukup's men dominated the possession, it was Oman who had the clearer-cut chances.

Bahrain striker Madi Al Jabar scored an unfortunate own-goal in the 29th minute and that proved to be the difference between the two sides in the end as Oman progressed to the summit clash before eventually being crowned as the champions.


4. International Friendly: BAHRAIN 0-0 PALESTINE


Ahead of their final Asian Cup qualifiers, Soukup's men played an international friendly against Palestine at the Bahrain National stadium on March 22, 2018. The match ended in a goal-less stalemate with chances coming at a premium for both sides.


5. 2019 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers:  BAHRAIN 4-0 TURKMENISTAN


Having already have booked their place in the main event at UAE, Bahrain were up against Turkmenistan in thir final Group E clash held on March 27, 2018. Soukup's men turned on the style in the qualifier as they handed their Central Asian opponents a 4-0 thrashing.

Abdulla Yusuf Helal gave the home side an electric start as he scored in the 12th and 24th minute. Turkmenistan upped the ante after falling two behind but two goals in the space of three minutes in the second-half sealed an emphatic victory for Bahrain as Soukup's men finished as the winners of the group.

Bahrain will open their AFC Asian Cup campaign against hosts UAE before they take on India on January 14, 2019.