Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

Updated 17 January 2019
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Saudi Arabia to face Japan in Asian Cup second round after defeat to Qatar

  • A double from Almoez Ali means Qatar top Group E.
  • Juan Antonio Pizzi's men now face Japan in second round on Monday.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia now know they will have to overcome Japan in the second round if they are to keep their hopes of a fourth Asian Cup title alive. 

A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Qatar meant Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men finished second in Group E — both sides went into the top-of-the-table clash knowing they had already secured a spot in the knockout stages. 

A brace from Almoez Ali in Abu Dhabi was enough to give Qatar the three points and leave them top of the group. 

From the kick-off the Green Falcons were the ones who looked the more likely to make the initial breakthrough —  Fahad Almuwallad slamming a right-foot shot against the post after 22 minutes.

Qatar captain Hasan Al-Haydos then missed a penalty in the 42nd minute after Ali had been clattered in the box.

But Ali, who scored four goals in Qatar's 6-0 rout of North Korea last weekend, made no mistake in first-half stoppage time.

He calmly slotted the ball past Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais to become the first player to score six goals in a single Asian Cup since South Korea's Lee Dong-gook in 2000.

Ali subsequently headed in a seventh goal of the tournament 10 minutes from time, celebrating with a jig of delight.

While the defeat was not ideal Green Falcons coach Pizzi said he was still hopeful Saudi Arabia would be able to go far in the tournament. 

"It was an intense game but we have to hide our feelings and prepare for the last 16," Pizzi said.

"We were missing quality in the final third and individual errors have cost us," he added.

"But we will bounce back. I respect every team left in the competition, including Japan, but I don't feel that we are inferior to them in any way."

Qatar, who have never gone beyond the quarterfinals, advance to face Iraq in the last 16.


Indonesia makes 2032 Olympics bid official

Updated 19 February 2019
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Indonesia makes 2032 Olympics bid official

  • President Joko Widodo’s announcement to participate in bidding to host the 2032 Olympics came as a surprise
  • Indonesia hosted the 18th Asian Games from August to September in 2018

JAKARTA: The deputy chairman of Indonesia’s Olympic committee says the country has officially joined bidding to host the 2032 Olympics following its success staging the Asian Games last year.
Muddai Madang on Tuesday said letters from President Joko Widodo and the national Olympic committee were delivered to the International Olympic Committee’s president in Lausanne last week by Indonesia’s ambassador to Switzerland.
Widodo made a surprise announcement of plans to bid for the 2032 games after Jakarta and Palembang co-hosted the 18th Asian Games in August, and the process has gathered momentum. The Olympics have never been held in Southeast Asia.
India is planning to bid for the 2032 games and North and South Korea have confirmed an intention to launch a joint bid, while there have been expressions of interest from Australia and Russia.