Thailand edge Bahrain to recover from opening defeat by India
Jordan become first team to advance to Round of 16
UAE beat India to leave Group A wide open
The second round of group stage play began at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, putting knockout-stage qualification into view. Jordan became the first nation to secure their place in the Round of 16 with a win against Syria. Victories for Thailand and hosts United Arab Emirates meant Group A will be wide open heading into the pool's final matchday.
Bahrain 0-1 Thailand, Group A Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai
Thailand recorded their first win of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup with a narrow victory over Bahrain. Silver-haired forward Chanathip Songkrasin’s second-half strike proved the difference between the two sides in Dubai.
The result sees the War Elephants bounce back from their opening 4-1 defeat against India which prompted the sacking of now-former coach Milovan Rajevac. Currently under interim management, Thailand will meet hosts UAE in their third and final Group A game, while Bahrain – still looking for their first win of the tournament – meet India.
Jordan 2-0 Syria, Group B Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Dubai
Jordan’s already-famous 1-0 win against holders Australia gave coach Vital Borkelmans’ side confidence in their contest against Syria as they became the first team to qualify for the knockout stage at UAE 2019.
After Yasen Bakheet beat his defender with a few step-overs, he cut back a low cross for Yousef Rawshdeh, whose low shot was redirected in by Mousa Suleiman from close range to give The Chivalrous the lead. Tareq Khattab doubled the Jordanians’ lead right before half-time with a bullet header from a corner kick.
Shortly after the break Omar Khrbin should probably have got Syria back to within a goal but he failed to convert a headed chance from six yards out. Jordan held on to book their ticket to the Round of 16 and to continue their flawless start with consecutive clean sheets.
India 0-2 UAE, Group A Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi
India produced one of the biggest storylines of UAE 2019 so far with their sensational opening 4-1 victory over Thailand, so there was plenty of anticipation heading into their clash with the tournament hosts.
And UAE were on the back foot as India started brightly, with Ashique Kuruniyan and Sunil Chhetri both forcing Khalid Eisa Bilal into key saves. Everything swung before the break as sluggish defending and quick feet from Khaflan Mubarak created enough space to fire into the top corner of the net against the run of play.
From almost the same patch of grass India rattled the bar through Udanta Singh as they continued to look bright. Ismail Al Hamadi almost wrapped things up when he struck the post, but Ali Mabkhout's superb touch and cool finish settled the game with a minute to go, even though India still found time to rattle the bar again.
The hosts go top of Group A on four points, with India and Thailand trail on three each and Bahrain prop up the table on one point ahead of the group's last matchday.