Saudi Arabia brush aside Lebanon on course for the Asian Cup second round

Saudi Arabia's Hussain Al-Mogahwi celebrates scoring their second goal with Fahad Al Muwallad and team mates. (Reuters)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia brush aside Lebanon on course for the Asian Cup second round

  • Goals either side of half-time enough to send Green Falcons to top of Group E
  • Pizzi's players looking good for a tilt at the title

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia are almost certain of a place in the last 16 of the Asian Cup after a relatively simple 2-0 win over Lebanon.

Having impressed during their 4-0 opening win over North Korea there was much expectation that the Green Falcons could once again make a statement of intent in the UAE. They did not disappoint. 

A goal in each half was the least the Green Falcons deserved for a dominant performance at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. It was a measured, assured performance and one that suggests Juan Antonio Pizzi’s players can go far. 

Fahad Al-Muwallad slotted home on 12 minutes during an impressive first half for Juan Antonio Pizzi's men. Hussain Al-Moqahwi doubled the lead in a scrappier second half. 

In truth Saudi Arabia rarely got out of third gear, simply because they did not have to. Coming in to the tournament Pizzi declared he was very happy with how the preparations had gone — the former Spain international revealing the squad was reaping the benefits of all being together for a continued stretch of time. 

With two wins from two, the Green Falcons lead Group E with six points and could advance with a game in hand if North Korea fails to beat Qatar on Sunday.

For anyone thinking Pizzi and Co’s 100 percent record bodes well for a tilt at the title the omens are very good. This is the Saudi Arabia have won their opening two games at the Asian Cup for the first time since 1996, when the Green Falcons last won the title.

After two defeats, Lebanon faces a must win against North Korea to have a chance to make it to the next round.

 


FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

Updated 18 July 2019
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FIFA claims progress in letting women attend games in Iran

  • Iran will host their first World Cup qualifier in October
  • FIFA wants the issue of women attending men’s games to be resolved before the game

ZURICH: FIFA says Iran’s football federation supports letting women attend 2022 World Cup qualifying games of its men’s national team, though government approval is still needed.
FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Some women were allowed to watch the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November when FIFA President Gianni Infantino also attended.
FIFA wants the issue resolved before Oct. 10 when Iran — the top-ranked team in Asia — hosts its first home World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. The next is March 26 against Hong Kong.
Football’s world body says Iran federation president Mehdi Taj has replied to Infantino saying “the matter has been taken up directly with the minister of sports and youth.”