Qatar defeat continental rivals Bahrain

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15 January 2017

2015 World Championship silver medallists Qatar record their first victory at France 2017.

After a disappointing loss to Egypt in their first match at the 25th IHF Men’s Handball World Championship, Qatar added their first two points to the Group D table with a clear victory against Bahrain. Last time the teams met, in a friendly match in 2016, the game ended with a difference of five, but this time there was little contest as Qatar steamrolled their opponents to finish with a decisive 10-goal score line.

Click here for match statistics and a group overview

Group D: Bahrain vs Qatar 22:32 (9:19)

After a positive opening that included a penalty save by goalkeeper Mohamed Husain Abdulla, Bahrain fell behind their neighbours, who created an early lead at 4:1 with a fast break from Kamal Aldin Mallash. However, once the shock of the opening minutes wore off Bahrain kept the same distance for some time, despite outstanding saves from Qatar keeper Danijel Saric.

When Saric made his fifth save with Qatar at a 7:4 advantage in the 13th minute, he recorded a rate of 56 per cent and was the clear factor in stopping Bahrain’s attack. At the other end of the court right wing Abdulla Al-Karbi was the most dangerous weapon, as he tallied three goals off three attempts by midway through the half when Qatar had pulled ahead to 9:4.

Bahrain coach Salah Bouchekriou called the first time-out of the match in the 18th with Qatar in front 10:5 and Saric maintaining his impressive save rate, but Bouchekriou’s advice for the team was not enough to contain the 2015 World Championship silver medallists. Once the clock passed midway through the half Qatar began to show their strength, increasing their advantage to 10 goals by half-time, at which point a comeback from Bahrain seemed impossible considering the momentum was all with the Asian champions.

10 minutes into the second half Qatar maintained the same lead, and the 10-goal distance persisted as the full-time buzzer neared – indicating a vast improvement from Bahrain after half-time. But the 10-goal deficit Bahrain allowed in the first 30 minutes was far too great to come back from, and Qatar coach Valero Rivera used the comfortable lead to play through his bench until the final whistle sounded.

Post-match reactions: 

Esam Abdulla, assistant coach (BRN): “We played very badly during the first half. We had problems to score against Saric. Of course, we know the Qatar team because we played a lot against them. They prepared how to beat our defence. I hope we will play better against Egypt.” 

Bertrand Roine (QAT): “Tonight we started well. We were good in defence, our goalkeeper made the saves and, in attack we followed our plan. After we relaxed in defence, we took some stupid shots. But that’s also because we changed some players who are still learning to fit into the team.”

Best Player of the Match presented by adidas: Kamal Aldin Mallash

Photo: Julien Crosnier / Francehandball2017