Bahrain's big win attracts suspicion
Thursday 01 March 2012
A former England caretaker manager was at the centre of extraordinary events on the final day of preliminary qualifying in Asia for the 2014 World Cup. Peter Taylor's Bahrain, needing a nine-goal turnaround to progress to the next stage, beat Indonesia 10-0 in a fixture that may yet attract closer investigation from Fifa, but were denied a place in the next round by Qatar's 86th-minute equaliser against Iran.
Indonesia had their goalkeeper sent off after two minutes. The replacement let in a potentially pivotal ninth goal eight minutes from the end. Included in the final tally were two penalties.
The referee for the game, Andre El Haddad of Lebanon, has been involved in controversy before. Last year, he took charge of a qualifier between China and Singapore that saw him make several hotly contested decisions. China won 2-1.
Taylor, who took charge of England for one game in 2000, was criticised for taking the job in Bahrain, where the pro-democracy movement has been brutally suppressed. Several of the country's best players are currently banned from playing for the national side after taking part in protests in the capital Manama, after which they were arrested and imprisoned. "I am just a football manager," was Taylor's stance when he arrived. "Since I've been here there have been more problems in England than there have been in Bahrain," he said.
Qatar now advance to the next stage with Iran after the sides' 2-2 draw in Tehran. It would have been a major embarrassment for Qatar if the hosts for the 2022 finals had gone out at such an early stage.
Fifa is expected to wait for the official reports on the Bahrain match before deciding whether any action or further investigation is required.
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