Three-time winners Kuwait SC went into the game looking for a win to take a first step towards restoring past glories, and could have delivered a win had they held on for another minute before the game ended against Tishreen.
Three minutes into the match, Tishreen’s Kamel Hmeisheh and Ali Bashmani launched a barrage of shots straight at goalkeeper Hameed Youssef, who magnificently managed to stand firm with the help of team captain Faisal Al Rashidi, who headed off the line before the ball was eventually cleared to safety.
The opener eventually came 24 minutes into the game when a marauding Sami Al Sanea picked out Tunisian forward Ahmed Akaichi from a deep position with a high cross, which the latter headed in above goalkeeper Ahmad Madanieh.
Seven minutes later, the Latakia-based side’s talismanic captain Nadim Sabagh equalised after Kuwait SC were dispossessed in defence leading up to a scramble up front for Tishreen that eventually ended up with Sabagh dribbling his way into the six-yard box and lashing into the far corner.
On the hour mark, striker Faisal Al Harbi added Kuwait SC’s second goal with what might be a contender for goal of the tournament when he dribbled down the left flank and cut inside, carefully moving the ball to his right foot before exquisitely placing it into Madanieh’s top corner while under pressure from Tishreen’s defence.
The Syrian champions pushed for an equaliser with Mohamed Al Marmour coming agonisingly close when he received a pass from Bashmani close to the centre of the Kuwait SC area but fired straight at the keeper, moments before Bashmani was brought down by Rami Bedoui inside the penalty area, with Marmour making no mistake from the spot to bring his side level once again at 2-2 with 19 minutes to go.
The parity was short-lived however, with Al Harbi producing another moment of magic three minutes later when his long range free-kick made it past the wall and a forest of defenders into Madanieh’s net to make the score 3-2.
Eight minutes into injury time, substitute Mohammed Malta tapped in a fumbled clearance from a corner to salvage an unlikely point for his side, having only been on the pitch for eight minutes.
Kuwait SC face Al Ama’ari Center of Palestine on Monday while Tishreen face group hosts Al Faisaly in the late kick-off on the same day.