AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023 kicked off

Matchday 1 in Pattaya, Thailand concluded this Friday

The AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup 2023 has kicked off. The competition is taking place in Pattaya, Thailand, and the three best qualified teams will earn a place in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2023 joining hosts UAE as representatives of Asia.

Bahrain opened their AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 campaign with a 4-2 win over Afghanistan in Group A, thanks to goals from Rashed Jamal Salem, Mohamed Yaqoob (2) and goalkeeper Ahmed Abdulrasool. Afghanistan’s Mohammad Tamim Haidari scored twice in the second and third periods, but it wasn’t enough to stop Bahrain from securing their first victory of the tournament.

In their second appearance at the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ since 2013, Saudi Arabia secured a 3-2 victory over hosts Thailand, dealing a blow to their tournament hopes. Goals from Belal Saeed Bawdah, Ahmed Alhamami and Mohammed Alshammari were enough for the Saudi side to join Bahrain as Group A winners on the opening day of the competition. Despite the support of a 1,689-strong home crowd, Thailand were unable to prevent a defeat that leaves them with work to do in their remaining Group A fixtures.

Iran defeated Malaysia 14-5 in their opening AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 Group B match, with Moslem Mesigar, Amir Hosein Akbari, Ali Mirshekari, Abbas Rezaei, Mahdi Shirmohammadi, and Movahed Mohammadpour scoring twice each for Iran. The two-time champions put in an impressive performance, indicating their intent to challenge for the Thailand 2023 title.

The United Arab Emirates opened their AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 campaign with a 4-0 victory over Uzbekistan in Group B, with Ahmed Beshr scoring twice from free-kicks. The two-time champions secured an early advantage in the tournament with the win, having last won the title in 2008.

China PR avenged their 2019 group stage defeat to Lebanon, beating them 4-1 in their opening AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 Group C match. Despite a rocky start that saw two of their players sent off, China bounced back in the second and third periods with goals from Cai Weiming, Li Yueming, and two from Liu Haoran, securing the win.

Defending champions Japan made a strong start to their AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup campaign with a dominant 7-0 win over Indonesia in their Group C opener. Takuya Akaguma, Takahiro Ozu, and Takahito Yamada all scored a brace in the game, with Japan now looking to secure their position when they face China PR on Sunday.

Kuwait stunned Palestine with a 5-0 victory in their first Group D match at the AFC Beach Soccer Asian Cup™ Thailand 2023 on Friday. Mohammad Alshafei opened the scoring for Kuwait in the sixth minute, and Kuwait goalkeeper Omar Alfailakawi made several crucial saves throughout the game to keep Palestine at bay. Majed Alenezi scored two goals for Kuwait, who will face 2015 champions Oman in their next match, while Palestine will play Kyrgyz Republic.

2015 champions Oman scored six goals on the third period against Kyrgyz Republic to clinch a 7-0 win. Al Bulushi and Al Muraiki scored a brace each.

RESULTS – Matchday 1 (16/03 & 17/03)
Group A
Bahrain 4–2 Afghanistan
Thailand 2–3 Saudi Arabia

Group B
Iran 14–5 Malaysia
United Arab Emirates 4–0 Uzbekistan

Group C
Lebanon 1–4 China
Japan 7–0 Indonesia

Group D
Palestine 0–5 Kuwait
Oman 7–0 Kyrgyz Republic


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