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HOSTS Bahrain fought valiantly against powerhouse Lebanon in the final of the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF) Championship (Women Under18), on Monday night at the Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town, losing 0-3 in an exciting match, reports Jalal Jaffar.
The Bahraini women qualified for the title contest after defeating defending champions Jordan 5-3 in a thrilling penalty shootout late on Saturday night.
The Lebanese, meanwhile, qualified following a 4-2 win over Palestine in the other semi-final. Both finalists headed into the final with unbeaten records so far in the competition.
In the final, for most of the first half, the Bahrain team held a tight defence against the Lebanon team, which has been exceptional in its attack in the tournament, having scored 14 goals in the lead-up to the final.
However, right before the end of the first half, Lebanon’s star player and the top scorer in the tournament Layla Iskandar scored Lebanon’s first goal.
Bahrain’s Anood Nawaf missed her chance to score in the first half despite a well-fought one-on-one with Lebanon’s goalkeeper.
Iskandar also scored the third goal of the match, with two minutes remaining on the clock.
Zahra Nezar Ali from Bahrain was crowned the best goalkeeper of the tournament.
Sheikha Hussa bint Khalid Al Khalifa, president of the women’s committee at the Bahrain Football Association said: “This is the first time that the Under-18 WAFF was hosted in Bahrain and for our team, which is very young, having been formed only six months ago, making it to the finals is a huge achievement. We are incredibly proud of their achievement. Their competition, Lebanon has been preparing for two years. I am sure that if the Bahrain under-18 team continue, they’ll do even better next time.
“The team will be competing in December this year for the next round of the WAFF to be held in Dubai. I also would like to personally thank all the parents who have committed to the team and the sacrifices they have made.
“This tournament was held over the winter break and for them to spend their time at the tournament is commendable in itself and definitely supported the team in its achievements.”