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Doha: A strong second-half performance saw Bahrain defeat Yemen 4-0 and pick up their first three points of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 AFC Asian Cup joint-qualifiers as the two Group H basement dwellers met at the Grand Hamad Stadium on Tuesday.

Bahrain made the short trip across the Gulf to neighbouring Qatar - where Yemen are playing their home matches due to the current security situation in the country - looking to pick up their first points of a disappointing campaign that saw Sergio Batista’s side lose to the Philippines (2-1) and DPR Korea (1-0) in their first two matches, while Yemen had also to yet get off the mark having lost at ‘home’ to the DPR Korea (3-0) and the Philippines (2-0) as well as to Uzbekistan (1-0) on the road.

Skipper Husein Ali Mohammed put Bahrain on the first steps to victory with 31st minute penalty before the 2004 AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists struck three times after the interval to pick up their first points of the campaign.

Busaiteen striker Sami Al Husaini extended Bahrain’s lead barely 60 seconds after Saudi referee Turki Al Khudair had signalled the start of the second half before Chad-born midfielder Abdulla Omar - who had a three-year spell in Switzerland with Neuchatel Xamax before joining Jeddah giants Al Ittihad - made it 3-0 in the 66th minute.

Bahrain’s fourth and final goal came in the 77th minute courtesy of Sayed Mohammed Adnan as the Gulf Kingdom put themselves back in contention with the win that took them to within three points of joint second-placed sides Uzbekistan and the Philippines with the top four sides in Group H all having played three games, while struggling Yemen have played four fixtures and remain rooted at the foot of the table without a point.

The group winners and four best runners-up (total 12 teams) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final round of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots + 1 slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.