The sporting hopes of the entire Gulf were left in tatters last night as Bahrain slumped to a single goal against New Zealand .
Qualification for South Africa 2010 was hanging in the balance after the first leg finished goalless in Bahrain last month.
That result meant Bahrain would progress for the first time in their history if they achieved a score draw or victory in New Zealand ’s 35,000 capacity ‘Cake-Tin’ stadium.
But despite throwing everything at the All Whites of New Zealand it was a sole goal from striker Rory Fallon that proved decisive.
Failure to qualify will weigh heaviest on the shoulders of Bahrain’s Sayed Adan who missed a penalty in the 51st minute. It was only the outstretched arm of New Zealand goalkeeper Mark Paston that denied Bahrain the equalizing goal.
This is the second time Bahrain have come so close to qualifying for the World Cup. In 2006 they were denied by Trinidad and Tobago at the same stage.