Mon, Jul 23, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Saudi Arabia sneak into semi-finals with a 2-1 win

AFP, JAKARTA

The woodwork and a linesman's flag helped Saudi Arabia beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in the Asian Cup yesterday and sneak into the semi-finals.

The unlucky Uzbeks clattered the frame of the goal five times and had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside as they crashed out to the oil-rich kingdom in a thrilling contest.

It was a flying start as Saudi Arabia took the lead after only three minutes with Uzbekistan hitting the post two minutes later.

Abdulrahman Al Qahtani outpaced Anvar Gafurov down the Saudi left and sent a teasing cross into the box.

Uzbek goalkeeper Ignatiy Nesterov got a hand to it but could only divert the ball to Yasser Al Qahtani, who finished with aplomb.

Just before the half hour Shatskikh seemed to have earnt the Uzbeks a richly deserved equalizer after mopping up a loose ball in the box but he was denied by a ridiculous offside flag, despite being meters onside.

The second half began in much the same vein as the majority of the first with Uzbekistan again clattering the woodwork, Ibragimov's bouncing header from Djeparov's cross cannoning back off the bar this time.

Saudi substitute Ahmed Al Mousa looked to have finished the game, firing in off the post after another slicing Saudi move.

Uzbekistan finally got the goal their play deserved eight minutes from the end as another substitute, Pavel Solomin, prodded home after his team hit the woodwork for the fourth time.

A minute later and Alexander Geynrikh, yet another sub, thudded the post again. But still there was time for Al Jassam to dance into the box only for his close-range effort to be saved.

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