Saudi Arabia triumphed 4-0 over Pakistan on Thursday in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers at Al-Fateh Stadium in the Gulf nation's Al-Ahsa.
Pakistan started off well as they conceded only one goal in the first half. However, Saudi Arabia dominated the second half, netting three goals to secure a dominant win.
Saleh Al-Shahri opened the scoring for Saudi Arabia with goals in the 6th and 48th minutes, followed by Abdul Rahman Ghareeb in the 91st minute and Abdullah Radif in the 96th minute.
Saudi Arabia maintained significant possession throughout the game, taking advantage of the absence of Eash Suliman due to injury, which weakened Pakistan's defence. Suliman, the team's defender and captain, was sorely missed.
Reflecting their respective FIFA rankings, Saudi Arabia at 57 and Pakistan at 193, the match unfolded as anticipated, with Saudi Arabia emerging victorious as expected.
It must be noted this is the first time Pakistan will play in the second round of the Asian Qualifiers.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia last played against each other in 1978 in a game in the latter’s backyard which the Shaheens lost 6-0.
Jordan and Tajikistan are the other teams in Pakistan’s group. These four teams will play against each other on a home and away basis and then the top two nations will progress to the third round, while the bottom two teams will move into the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
Being a host country of the 2027 Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia have already qualified for the continent’s major showpiece.
Pakistan are now set to play against Tajikistan in Islamabad on November 21, while the remaining qualification matches will be played next year in March and June. The top two qualify for the third round of qualifiers, in which 18 teams are split between three groups.
More to follow...
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Hosts were restricted to 127/7 by Pakistan after they managed to post 137/6