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UAE score after 14 seconds in Bahrain win in Asian Cup

AFP , Thursday 15 Jan 2015
UAE Vs Bahrain
Bahrain's goalkeeper Sayed Mohamed Abbas (2nd L) eyes the ball from a UAE free kick during their Asian Cup Group C soccer match at the Canberra stadium in Canberra January 15, 2015 (Photo: Reuters)
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United Arab Emirates striker Ali Mabkhout scored after 14 seconds in one of the fastest goals in Asian Cup history on Thursday to propel his side towards a 2-1 win over Bahrain.

The Group C victory in Canberra marked the first time UAE had won their opening two matches at the tournament and put them on the brink of qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Omar Abdulrahman clipped a superb ball over the top of Bahrain's defence and Mabkhout calmly controlled it with his right foot before slotting past goalkeeper Sayed Abbas with his left.

It was Mabkhout's third goal of the Asian Cup after a double in UAE's opening 4-1 win against Qatar Sunday, making him the tournament's top scorer.

Goals have been scored within a minute at the competition before, notably China's Xie Yuxin in 1992 and Kuwaiti Fat'hi Kameil in 1976, but Mabkhout's is one of the quickest on record.

Midfield wizard Abdulrahman, whose idol is France great Zinedine Zidane, and close friend Mabkhout were the standout performers for UAE.

"I'm very close to Mabkhout and I'm delighted he's scored three already," said Abdulrahman. "I will work hard to help him score more."

If Iran, playing later Thursday, avoid defeat against Qatar then UAE's progression to the group stages will be confirmed.

They enjoyed more of the ball in the opening stages, but Bahrain gradually came into the match after the shock of conceding so early and always looked dangerous up front through Nigerian-born striker Jaycee Okwunwanne.


The bulldozing targetman -- nicknamed "Ronaldo" in some quarters -- blazed just over the bar with an audacious overhead kick, before Ahmed Khalil rattled the post from close range at the other end.

UAE would rue that miss shortly afterwards when Okwunwanne got his reward for his persistent badgering of the defence, scoring with a header at the back post from a corner on 26 minutes.

The Emiratis almost went into the break a goal up after poacher Mabkhout took the ball around Abbas following a mazy run by Abdulrahman, only for his shot to be cleared off the line.

The start of the second half was less high-octane until Abdulrahman curled an indirect free-kick a fraction over on 61 minutes after Abbas had picked up a back-pass.

UAE got their winner after 73 minutes when Bahrain captain Mohamed Hasan headed an in-swinging free-kick into his own net.

"It's very difficult to defend those type of crosses and it wasn't his fault, just a mistake," said Bahrain coach Marjan Eid. "Luck was not with us today.

"We lost an early goal before we were really focused and in the second half we had lots of opportunities in dangerous positions but missed many chances."

Bahrain's defeat mean they will exit at the group-stage after their opening 2-0 loss to Iran, irrespective of how they fair against Qatar in their final match.

"It's going to be really hard to motivate the players for the final game," added Eid. "But we want to get what we deserve from this tournament -- a win."

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