DOHA: Jordan dumped three-time champions Saudi Arabia out of the Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory courtesy a howler by goal-keeper Waleed Abdullah.
It had been a traumatic few days for Saudi Arabia, whose quest for a first Asian Cup since 1996 got off to a disastrous start when they were beaten 2-1 by Syria in their opening game.
Jose Peseiro was promptly sacked as coach and replaced by Nasseral Johar who inherited a similar situation in 2000. He guided the Saudis to the final where they lost to Japan, but there would be no repeat this time.
The regional giants become the first team to be eliminated from the tournament while surprise-package Jordan are left sitting at the top of Group B with four points and a game to go.
The Saudis were in control early on with efforts from striker Naif Hazazi but Baha Abdelrahman inadvertently curled into the net to the of horror for Waleed, who totally misjudged the flight of the ball, in the 42nd minute.
Ahmed’s brace guides Qatar to victory
Yusef Ahmed fired a brace to help restore Qatar’s pride and their hopes of reaching the Asian Cup knockout rounds in an entertaining 2-0 victory over China. Kuwait, however, are hanging on by their fingernails with no points so far and a must-win clash against Qatar on Sunday.
Metsu fined $2000
Meanwhile, Qatar coach Bruno Metsu has been fined $2,000 for not talking to Asian Cup organisers after their opening match defeat to Uzbekistan. Organisers require coaches to complete a minute-long interview for the tournament’s official website after a match.
Uzbek coach finds room for fine-tuning
Uzbekistan moved to the brink of the quarter-finals with a 2-1 defeat of Kuwait.
A scorching second-half shot from captain Server Djeparov secured victory for Uzbekistan, after Azizbek Haydarov’s opener had been cancelled out by a Baderal Mutwa penalty.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2011.
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