Saudi Arabia drawn in group with Iran and North Korea at Asian Games

Saad Al-Shehr will lead Saudi Arabia at the Asian Games. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2018
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Saudi Arabia drawn in group with Iran and North Korea at Asian Games

  • Myanmar make up the quartet in Group F
  • Coach Saad Al-Shehri has named a 28-man squad

Saudi Arabia's U-23 squad will meet the 2014 silver medalists after the groups were drawn for the Asian Games next month.
The young Green Falcons have been placed in Group F along with North Korea, who lost 1-0 in extra time to South Korea four years ago, Iran and Myanmar.
The group winners and runners-up as well as four best teams in third place in the groups will qualify for the knockout round of the tournament which runs in Indonesia from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
Saudi Arabia will play Iran on Aug. 15, Myanmar two days later and then the crunch clash against North Korea on Aug. 21. The final is at the Pakansari Stadium on Sept. 1.
Saudi Arabia reached the quarterfinal four years ago, losing 3-0 to Iraq but they were runners-up in 1986 and finished third in 1982.
Coach Saad Al-Shehri will be hoping his side perform better than they did at December's Gulf Cup where they failed to get out of the group. He will prepare his players by taking them to the Czech Republic for a training camp between July 9 and July 28.

He named the following squad:

Mohamed al-Rabihi
Mohamed al-Bassas
Abdullah Hassoun
AbdulBasit Hindi
Faisal Darisi
Ali Al-Asmari
Yussof Al-Harbi
AbdulRahman Al-Gharib
Ayman Al-Khlif
Abdullah Majrishi
Mansoor al-Mawled
Nawwaf Abu Amer
Saad al-Slouli
Mohamed al-Zubaidi
Saleh Al-Wahaymed
Moutaeb Al-Hamad
AbdulRahman Al-Dosary
Anas Zubani
Fahd Al-Roushaydi
Nayef Kariri
Amin Bukhari
Aoun Slouli
Hassan Abu Sharara
Haroun Kamara
Nasser Al-Omran
Abdullah Al-Yussof
Abdulilah Al-Omari
Abdulkoudous Attiyah

ASIAN GAMES DRAW

Group A
Indonesia
Hong Kong
Laos
Chinese Taipei

Group B
Thailand
Uzbekistan
Bangladesh
Qatar

Group C
Iraq
China PR
Timor-Leste
Syria

Group D
Japan
Vietnam
Pakistan
Nepal

Group E
South Korea
Kyrgyzstan
Malaysia
Bahrain

Group F
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Iran
Myanmar


Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

‘I’m very happy to have won my first title with Juventus,’ Cristiano Ronaldo said. (Photo/General Sports Authority)
Updated 6 min 30 sec ago
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Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

  • Ronaldo’s glancing header sinks AC Milan 1-0 at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium

JEDDAH: A historic Wednesday evening at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium saw Italian champions Juventus beat AC Milan in the final of the 31st annual Supercoppa Italiana.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal as Juventus lifted the Supercoppa Italiana for the first time since 2015 with a 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out 61,235-capacity crowd.

As only one should expect when two of the most successful Italian clubs go head to head, a tactical and elegant, albeit very physical, display of football was at hand. 

Cheerful roars from the Jeddah crowd resonated throughout the night, in the kind of buzzing atmosphere that only a cup final brings.

Juventus, the Serie A champions, began brightly and were the first side to settle into the game, threatening with frequent sweeping moves.

Juventus and Portuguese international Joao Cancelo could have opened the scoring in the 16th minute after being played through on goal, but the defender’s zooming effort lacked the necessary precision and whisked past the far post with the Milan keeper rooted in his spot.

A maddening crescendo of noise erupted when Juventus and French international Blaise Matuidi thought he had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after being played through by Costa before being flagged offside. 

Juventus did not have too much longer for another opportunity though, with Ronaldo’s acrobatic half volley from just outside the six-yard box bouncing and nestling agonizingly just over the bar and sparing Donnarumma’s blushes in the process.

Christiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in his last seven finals. (Reuters)

Milan, who qualified for the final as runners-up to Juventus in last season’s Coppa Italia, had struggled throughout the first half to settle into the game. They gradually grew into their own though, and nearly broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime with a stinging drive from Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu.

After a slew of opportunities had Juventus failing to build a halftime lead, Milan nearly made them pay for their squandered chances by starting the second half like bats out of hell. 

Milan’s confident pressing start to the half was almost rewarded in the 47th minute when a Ronaldo tackle inadvertently set up Cutrone with a clear sight on goal.  The striker turned and blasted an effort that rattled off the crossbar — the closest either team had come thus far.

And just when the tide seemed to have turned for Milan in the second half, their confidence building with every minute, a perfectly floating cross from Pjanic found Ronaldo with yards of space, and he made no mistake directing a swift header into the back of the net in the 61st minute and sending Juve supporters into a frenzy.


• AS IT HAPPENED: Cristiano Ronaldo's goal gives Juventus Supercoppa Italiana victory over AC Milan in Jeddah >>

• Arab News Matchday gallery >>


Things went from bad to worse for Milan in the 73rd minute. Franck Kessie came rushing in with a recklessly timed tackle, crunching his studs into the shins of Emre Can, which resulted in him seeing a straight red and leaving Milan with 10 men and a subsequent insurmountable uphill battle.

The final whistle came soon after, and with it brought Juventus a record eighth Supercoppa. It goes without saying that there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a cup final, but this was a historic and monumental occasion for Jeddah. 

The first major European cup final match being held in Saudi Arabia is now in the books, and with it brought an added sense of passion and excitement. 

Thousands of men, women and children showed up enthusiastically, were highly supportive of both teams, and were thoroughly entertained. It was a successful and memorable night that will surely pave the way for many more.

Addressing a prematch press conference on Tuesday night, Juventus Captain Giorgio Chiellini had defended the choice of Jeddah as the venue for the game against a backdrop of criticism by some. He said that it was “right” to give the Saudi port city the chance to host the showpiece match.

“We (footballers) cannot change the world but initiatives such as this can provide a new start.”

Juventus had been experiencing a worrying trend in cup finals of late. Despite securing the Serie A and Coppa Italia double for three seasons running, they had lost back-to-back Supercoppas and seven out of nine European Cup finals. 

Chiellini, however, firmly believed that his team would change the trend and the team did make their captain proud. 

Juventus now holds the outright record of most Italian Super Cups with eight titles. (Arab News photo by Ali Khamg)