By Rami Hulayyel
BAHRAIN hammered Palestine 5-1 yesterday to secure the bronze medal in the Women's Football Cup Arabia 2010.
The home side dominated the show in the consolation match for third place, held at the National Stadium in Riffa.
Bahrain's goals included a brace from Manar Yaqoob while Reem Al Hashimi, Marwa Al Majjri and Shaikha Al Anood Al Khalifa fired one each.
It took the hosts just 11 minutes to threaten the Palestinians. Shaikha Al Anood almost put the ball into the back of the net, but her shot went wide.
Four minutes later, Bahrain came close to being awarded a penalty when Al Hashmi was brought down the 18-yard box. But Lebanese referee Hoda El Awadi waved play on.
Bahrain didn't wait too long for their first goal, which came in the 22nd minute. Palestine's fullback Hamama Jorban handled the ball deliberately inside the area and the referee this time showed no hesitation in awarding Bahrain a penalty. It was successfully taken by Al Hashmi who sent Palestinian goalkeeper and skipper Jaklin Jazrawi to the wrong side.
Bahrain, who have a better Asian ranking of 15 compared to Palestine's 21, continued to rule the proceedings with Shaikha Al Anood, Al Hashmi and Muna Al Dayysi making a string of inroads.
But hundreds of supporters waited till the 49th minute to see Bahrain double their advantage with Yaqoob scoring her first goal in the game. The tall defender bounced on a free-kick by Bahrain captain Yasmine Fayez which came off the bar.
Bahrain put the scores beyond reach scoring the third goal 10 minutes later when Yaqoob used her shoulder to secure her double off Al Hashmi's corner-kick.
It could have been 4-0 in the 72nd minute, but Al Daaysi's goal was disallowed for offside.
The Bahraini girls continued to press forward and hit the fourth in the 80th minute through Al Majry who punished the goalkeeper's wrong judgement to chip the ball into the back of the net.
Then it was Shaikha Al Anood's turn to complete the rout, scoring Bahrain's fifth goal, and her seventh goal in the tournament, with six minutes remaining after a neat pass from Al Hashmi.
Palestine had very little chances in front of the Bahrain goal, well-guarded by Shaikha Nouf bint Khalid Al Khalifa.
But the visitors had something to salvage in the last minute of the game when they capitalised on a penalty kick, which was well taken by Natalie Shaheen.
In today's final, Egypt and Jordan will clash for the trophy and the gold medal. The match, which begins at 6pm, will be held under the patronage of Princess Sabika bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Women's Supreme Council chairwoman.
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse