1,000 and counting: Green Falcons goals to remember...

Saeed Al-Owairan his scorer of one of the most famous goals in World Cup history. (AFP)
Updated 09 January 2019
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1,000 and counting: Green Falcons goals to remember...

  • Hatan Bahbri slotted home Saudi Arabia's 1,000th international goal during the Green Falcons' 4-0 win over North Korea on Tuesday.
  • Arab News looks back at some of the famous goals scored in the green jersey down the years.

LONDON: Hatan Bahbri scored Saudi Arabia’s 1,000th international goal during the Green Falcons’ 4-0 
thrashing of North Korea on Tuesday. To celebrate the milestone Arab News looks back 
at five of the many memorable 999 goals that went before Bahbri’s strike.

SAEED AL-OWAIRAN vs BELGIUM (1994)

Who can forget the Al-Shabab man’s mazy run through a backpedaling Belgian backline at the US World Cup? Having picked the ball up in his own half Owairan ran past four Belgium defenders before firing the ball into the roof of the net. The goal is still considered one of the greatest in World Cup history and is certain one of the best, if not the greatest, ever scored in the famous green shirt.

MAJED ABDULLAH vs CHINA (1984)

The three-time Asian footballer of the year will go down in Green Falcons history as scoring the winner against China to land the Saudis their first Asian Cup title. Majed picked up the ball halfway inside the China half on a boggy Singapore pitch before gliding past three defenders and dummying the keeper to pass the ball into an empty net. It was a beautiful goal and illustrates why Majed was known as the “Arabian Jewel.” He went on to score 71 goals for the national side.

SAMI AL-JABER vs TUNISIA (2006)

We could not do a list of important Saudi Arabia goals and not have one scored by Green Falcons legend Al-Jaber. We have gone for his brilliant strike in the 2006 World Cup. A free flowing move found the striker on the left, he took one touch before firing past the keeper into the corner. It summed up everything brilliant about Al-Jaber.

FAHAD AL-MUWALLAD vs JAPAN (2017)

Saudi Arabia had not qualified for the World Cup in nearly 12 years and the pressure to right that wrong from the football-mad populous was reaching its peak. The Green Falcons went into the match against the Asian powerhouses needing to win to qualify outright. Thanks to this Al-Muwallad strike they did just that in front of a full house in Jeddah of 62,165. With the score at 0-0 and 62 minutes on the clock the winger got the ball on the right hand side of the area before firing into the roof to the net to give Eiji Kawashima in the Japan goal no chance. The crowd went wild and the Green Falcons were off to play on football’s biggest stage.

SALEM AL-DAWSARI vs EGYPT (2018)

The side had been humiliated 5-0 by the hosts in the opening match of the Russia World Cup. It said a lot about the character of the side and their manager, Juan Antonio Pizzi, that they were able to end their tournament on a high, with victory against Egypt. Al-Dawsari had a good tournament and ended with a fine strike in the last minute of the match to gift the Green Falcons a 2-1 victory and their first World Cup win since 1994.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.