Saudi Arabia thumps Bahrain 3-0
Saudi Arabia scored its first full three points with a 3-0 victory over Bahrain on Sunday in the 22nd Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament at the King Fahd International Stadium.
It was the first win in two matches for the Kingdom national team following a 1-1 draw with Qatar in the opener Thursday, as it took the lead in Group A on 4 points.
Nasser Al-Shamrani opened the account for the Saudis with a goal in the 26th minute, which turned out to be the only needed burst for the hosts as their opponents’ game unravelled and gave up own goals by Abdulla Al-Hazaa and Mohammed Hussain Mohammed in the 54th and 70th minutes respectively.
The victory boosted the Kingdom’s hopes of qualifying first for the semifinals from its group after Yemen held Qatar to a goalless draw in the first match Sunday.
It was Yemen’s second goalless draw in the group after similarly frustrating Bahrain in its opening game on Thursday, to record its first point in the competition since 2007.
The Yemenis are still in search of their first win in the tournament, and now face host Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to determine if they can progress from the group backed by their tireless and vocal support who have backed them in their thousands here in Riyadh.
It would be a historic achievement for the underdogs, who are ranked 70 to 90 positions lower than their group opponents.
Yemen’s Abdul Al Matari came closest on the half hour mark after shooting just wide of the post from a diagonal through ball. Qatar’s full-back lost the ball in the middle of pitch allowing a midfielder to pick out Al Mutari on a bursting run into the box, but his effort trickled painstakingly wide.
Qatar’s first chance came 20 minutes before time when Hassan Khalid rounded the defense and unleashed a shot toward the bottom right corner, but Yemen keeper Mohammad Ayash tipped it wide at the post.
The Maroons increased their urgency toward the end but Meshael Abdullah headed over from Esmail Mohammad’s cross before Mohammad struck straight at the keeper after a cross was teed up for him in the box, enabling Yemen to hold on for the draw.
Today’s matches: UAE vs. Kuwait (5.45 pm KSA); Iraq vs. Oman (8.15 pm KSA)