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AFC Asian Cup 2019: Saudi Arabia 4 North Korea 0: Pizzi's men start Group E in style

By Opta
Juan Antonio Pizzi

Dubai, January 8: Saudi Arabia beat 10-man North Korea 4-0 as Juan Antonio Pizzi's side made a superb start in Group E of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Tuesday.

Pizzi's men are among the favourites for the title and were dominant against North Korea, who had Han Kwang-song sent off shortly before half-time at Rashid Stadium.

Hatan Bahbri, Mohammed Al-Fatil, Salem Al Dawsari and Fawad Al Muwallad scored the goals for the three-time winners in what could easily have been an even more comfortable triumph.

Having started on top, Saudi Arabia built a commanding first-half lead thanks to two high quality goals in nine minutes.

Bahbri opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a wonderful solo effort, cutting inside off the left wing to shimmy into space and whip an unstoppable strike across Ri Myong-guk.

And the North Korea keeper was soon beaten again, Al-Fatil leaping in the box to brilliantly flick a Hussain Almoqahwi cross beyond the helpless goalkeeper.

North Korea's task was made even harder shortly before the break when Han received a second yellow card in the space of eight minutes for a cynical foul from behind on Almoqahwi.

After Ali Hadi Albulayhi and Yaseer Alshahrani had wasted openings in a frenetic spell of chances at both ends, Green Falcons captain Al Dawsari made certain of the points for Saudi Arabia in the 70th minute with another classy finish.

And they added more gloss to the scoreline with three minutes to go, Al Muwallad smashing in after being picked out by Hamdan Al Shamrani's excellent pass.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, January 8, 2019, 23:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Jan 8, 2019
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