Najma aims for gold in Asian handball clubs | THE DAILY TRIBUNE

TDT | manama

The Daily Tribune –

Last night, Al Najma of Bahrain took part in the gold medal game of the 24th Asian Men’s Club League Handball Championship, which is being held in Hyderabad, India. The domestic and Gulf champions clinched their tickets to the final after a hard-earned 22-21 win over Qatar’s Al Arabi club.

They will then face Al Kuwait of Kuwait in the title decider. Kuwait qualified after beating fellow countrymen Al Qadsia 25-20 in yesterday’s other semi-final. Arabi and Qadsia will battle it out for the bronze medals.

The gold and bronze medal matches are scheduled to take place tonight, with Najma’s game scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Bahrain time. Ali Eid was Najma’s star man once again, finishing yesterday’s game as top scorer with eight goals. Mahdi Saad added four for the Bahrainis and Hasan Al Fardan netted three, while Komail Mahfoodh and Oliver Nyokas netted two each.

Najma’s roster was completed with Kevynn Alix Nyokas, Ahmed Fadhul and Mohammed Habib Naser each scoring a goal. Goalkeeper Mohammed Abdulhussain also played a key role for the team, finishing with 12 saves.

Najma had to defend from a one-goal deficit, 17-18, with just under six minutes to play. Eid scored the goal that leveled the proceedings and it was the first of five unanswered that gave the Bahrainis the lead for good.

Mahfoodh and Al Fardan alternated their next four goals to put Najma ahead 22-18 with less than four minutes remaining. Scaring Najma seemed to be cruising at this point, but Arabi gave them a final scare, reducing their lead to just one goal with one minute left on the clock.

The Qataris had one last possession moments before the final buzzer to level the game, but they turned the ball over with a bad pass, sealing the win for Najma. Najma’s clash with Kuwait in the final is a rematch of their previous encounter in the preliminary round, which the Bahrainis won 30-29.

Najma hopes to clinch her second title in the history of the competition. They won it once in the past, in the 2017 edition which was also held in Hyderabad. They are also hoping to secure a spot in this year’s International Handball Federation (IHF) Men’s Super Globe, which will take place in October in Saudi Arabia.

Only the champions will book a ticket for the event, which is contested between the champion clubs of the continental confederations. Najma had also won silver medals in 2015 and bronze in 2001. In the previous edition of the tournament held last year, Najma placed fourth after losing in the bronze medal match against Arabi by one goal.