Saturday, September 5, 2015

Russia 2018/UAE 2019 Qualifiers: Saudi Arabia 7-0 Timor-Leste

 Jeddah: (September 4, 2015)
 Bert van Marwijk’s reign as Saudi Arabia coach began in positive fashion on Thursday as the three-time Asian champions enjoyed a convincing 7-0 win over Timor Leste to join Gulf neighbours the UAE at the top of the Group A table.
Van Marjwik, who led his native Netherlands to the 2010 FIFA World Cup final, had to wait just two mintes to see his new charges get their first competitive goal which came courtesy of Yahya Al Shehri before his Al Nassr team-mate Mohammed Al Sahlawi followed up his double in the 3-2 opening win over Palestinewith two in the space of three minutes at the King Abdullah Sports Centre Stadium.
Al Sahlawi’s first of the game came from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute and after the 28-year-old striker scored his second and Saudi Arabia’s third, further goals from Salman Al Faraj (30th) and Taiseer Al Jassam (32nd) gave the Green Falcons a commanding 5-0 lead at the interval.
Timor Leste held out until the 71st minute when Al Sahlawi completed his hat-trick to take his tally for the tournament to five goals in two matches before Fahad Al Muwallad sealed the win two minutes later.
Saudi Arabia’s campaign to reach the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time since 2006 continues on Tuesday when they take on a Malaysian side looking to pick themselves up after a humiliating 10-0 loss to the UAE, a victory that took the 2015 AFC Asian Cup semi-finalists to the top of the Group A standings ahead of the Saudis on goal difference.
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.
Photo: AFP

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