Saudi Arabia are through to the Asian Cup quarter-finals after they brushed aside Bahrain 4-0 in their last match in Group D. Korea also made it to the knock-out stage after they beat co-hosts Indonesia 1-0. Saudi Arabia and Korea will face Uzbekistan and Iran, respectively, in the next round.
First let me say that I have not expected our team to beat Bahrain easily, let alone with a big score like that. Bahrain have become such a rival in the past few years, and their team used to give us some hard time even when we won. Bahrain wanted to win in the time that they could have been through with a draw, and that’s where they made a huge mistake. I have never seen Bahrain play against Saudi Arabia in this kind of open play game before. It is true that such tactic has given them advantage in the first 15 minutes and they were very close to score on several occasions in the first half, but their attempts were blocked by a solid performance of Saudi defense and keeper al-Mosaileem.
Although Saudi Arabia were the younger side, they knew how to deal with the match. On the 18th minute, Yassir al-Qahtani passed a clever ball over Bahraini defenders to Malek, who barely touches the ball in the way of Ahmed Al-Mousa who enters the box and beats the goal keeper to take the lead for the Green Falcons. Bahrain tried to equalize and had some good chances but could not score.
On the last minute of the first half, Saudi Arabia proved how they can be very dangerous on the counter-attack, when Yassir passed a long ball to Malek on the right flank who sent a low cross to Abdul-Rahman al-Qahtani to easily score the second Saudi goal.
Bahrain have had a good start after the break and could have scored early in the 2nd half but were again denied by al-Mosaileem. It did not, however, take long for Saudis to kill the game on the 68th minute when Taiseer al-Jassim fired a beautiful 30-yard strike into the top right corner of the Bahraini net. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Taiseer scored again after a sweet play between Malek and Omar. We could have scored more, but at that point of the match it didn’t matter anymore.