Nigeria and Bahrain were both looking for their first points at Dubai 2009 as they met on the final day of the group stage matches. Nigeria were first out of the gates, Chinedu Ezimorah slotting home after Isiaka Olawale had found him relatively free and in a dangerous position. Rashed Salem responded by sending a loping header high into the net to give Bahrain’s fans something to cheer.
But it was Gabriel Agu who smashed home a direct kick before adding another to re-energise the African champions. Nigeria kept finding new and creative ways to put the ball into the back of the net. It was clearly time for Bahrain to figure a way back into the match. That Sadeq Marhoon’s direct-kick skipped just wide of the target did not help them to do so, while Nigeria seemed as determined as ever to continue extending their already sizable lead.
Husain Aldoseri grabbed a nice goal for Bahrain and efforts from team-mates came close, but it was not nearly enough, as the African champions rolled on. After today’s hard-fought battle, Nigeria and Bahrain can look back with pride on their individual campaigns, but must both bid farewell to Jumeirah Beach.