By Rami Hulayyel
BAHRAIN's bid to win the first-ever Women's Football Cup Arabia 2010 was foiled last night following a heavy 0-3 defeat to Jordan.
In the first semi-final of this regional competition, which took place at the National Stadium in Riffa, the tournament's top team Jordan ended Bahrain's impressive run with Enshirah Ibrahim, Farah Emad and Stephanie Mazen firing one goal apiece for the victors.
In the final, scheduled for Thursday, Jordan will take on Egypt who outplayed Palestine 4-0 later yesterday.
Egypt were without skipper and the team's top player Engy Ahmed who served a one-match ban after collecting her second yellow card in the tournament during her team's match against Jordan in the concluding game of the first round.
However, the Egyptians showed strength and experience in last night's match to emerge winners thanks to goals from Fawzia Eid (1st minute), Nesma Fekry (13th), captain Fayza Hidar (30th) and Ayat Mortada (90th).
The tournament's final, to be followed by the prize-giving ceremony, will be held under the patronage of Princess Sabika bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, the Women's Supreme Council chairwoman.
Semi-final losers Bahrain and Palestine will face off tomorrow in a consolation match, starting at 5.30pm, for the third place.
The winners of the tournament will benefit from exclusive training in Germany in the run-up to the 2011 Women's World Cup.
The Bahrainis headed into yesterday's semi-final with confidence, following an outstanding show in the first round which saw them win first place in Group 'A' which also featured Palestine, Syria and Qatar.
Bahrain's coach Khalid Al Harban was heavily relying on his star midfielder Shaikha Al Anood Al Khalifa, who scored eight goals for the team during the first round.
However, the home side faced a tough challenge from their opponents, who proved the stronger side yesterday with excellent teamwork, accurate passing and good pace.
The Jordanian girls took advantage of an 11th-minute lapse by the Bahraini defence to take the lead through Enshirah.
Al Anood then led a series of inroads but her efforts missed final touch. Other brave individual attempts by Bahrain players Reem Al Hashmi, Marwa Mohammed, Yasmeen Fayez and 18-year-old striker Muna Al Daaysi were also thwarted by the Jordanians.
The hosts' comeback bid suffered a major blow in the 31st minute when they conceded a second goal through Emad's spectacular free-kick which deceived the Bahraini defence and goalkeeper Huda Ali Salman.
Jordan could have scored the third on 60 minutes but Shahnaz Yaseen, the player of the match, saw her brilliant effort denied by the bar.
But the Jordanians did find the back of the net six minutes later when Mazen's free-kick was accidently deflected by Bahrain defender Noora Abdulaziz into her team's net.
photo Cheltenham jockey club
photo Cheltenham Racecourse