DUBAI: Saudi Arabia laid down a marker as they ruthlessly dismissed 10-man North Korea at the Asian Cup.
The Green Falcons, humbled 5-0 in their opening match at last year's World Cup against Russia, looked far more at home in neighboring UAE as they tore North Korea apart 4-0 in their Group E match.
It was a performance that tagged Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men as one of the teams to beat at the continental showpiece along with Iran, who thrashed Yemen 5-0 on Monday.
The Green Falcons attacked relentlessly in the opening stages and Hatan Bahbri put them in front in the 28th minute, turning defender Ri Il Jin inside-out and firing into the far corner.
They were 2-0 up just nine minutes later, when Hussain Almoqahwi's free-kick glanced off the outstretched boot of Mohammed Al-Fatil and past Ri Myong Guk in the North Korean goal.
North Korea already had a mountain to climb but their plight worsened just before half-time, when Han Kwang Song received his second yellow card for bringing down Almoqahwi.
Salem Al-Dawsari made it 3-0 with a smart finish on 69 minutes before Fahad Al-Muwallad bagged a soft fourth goal against an exhausted Korean defence three minutes from time.