JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 12 (Asia Free Press): Sami Al-Naji’s first-half brace helped Saudi Arabia defeat China 3-2 in the final round of the ‘FIFA Qatar 2022 World Cup’ – Asian Zone qualifiers in Jeddah on Tuesday, reported Xinhua.
China’s football team was outclassed by Australia and Japan in their first two games and notched up their first win over Vietnam 3-2 by an injury-time winner. Vietnam remains rooted to the bottom of the group after four rounds of matches.
Saudi Arabia opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Sami Al-Naji netted home with a right-footed shot to the bottom right corner. The 24-year-old scored another goal in the 38th minute from a very close range to the centre of the goal on Sultan Al-Ghannam’s cross.
After the restart, China pulled back the score on 1-2 with Luo Guofu’s right-footed shot from the left side of the box in the 46th minute. But Feras Al-Brikan tapped in the ball to put Saudi Arabia 3-1 ahead in the 72nd minute.
China’s Wu Xi fired home with a left-footed shot from outside the box in the 87th minute to help China close the scoring again on 2-3 but failed to turn the game around.
Included China in the Group B of the final round with Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Vietnam. The top two from both six-team groups qualify for the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar automatically. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner of that tie entering an intercontinental playoff.
Other Asian Zone qualifiers on Tuesday included Japan, which edged past Australia 2-1, while Vietnam lost 1-3 to Oman.