NBA
Asian Cup: Saudi Arabia eliminates North Korea 4-1
Neil Frankland (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2015 - 5:59pm

MELBOURNE, Australia — Mohammed Al Sahlawi scored twice in two minutes to lead Saudi Arabia back from a one-goal deficit to a 4-1 win over North Korea in the Asian Cup on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia has a share of first place in Group B ahead of the match between fellow leaders China and Uzbekistan late Wednesday. With its second loss from as many games, North Korea was eliminated from contention.

Midfielder Ryang Yong Gi opened the scoring in the 11th minute, pouncing on a failed clearance by Saudi goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah and firing the ball into the back of the net for North Korea's first Asian Cup goal since 1992.

Striker Pak Kwang Ryong helped to set up the goal with a powerful strike from the edge of the box that forced a desperate save from Abdullah, before Ryang coolly slotted it home.

Striker Naif Hazazi equalized in the 37th when he completed a sweeping passing play that bamboozled the North Korean defense. Three Saudi players were involved before Nawaf Al Abid drew in the defense and deftly passed to Haziz, who scored from just outside the box.

Nawaf Alabid came close five minutes later when he chested down a pass and volleyed the ball toward the far post, forcing an athletic, diving save by North Korea 'keeper Ri Myong Guk.

Al Sahlawi put Saudi Arabia in front in the 52nd when he positioned himself inside the box to finish off a long Abdulla Aldossary pass. The striker claimed the simplest of goals two minutes later when Guk came out of his goal, allowing Al Sahlawi to tap the ball into the empty net.

Ri Yong Jik was sent off in the 77th after his intentional handball saved an almost certain goal, and man-of-the-match Nawaf Albid sealed the win when he put in the rebound of his subsequent spot kick.

Al Sahlawi also came close in the 51st when he rose to meet a long Hassan Muath Fallatah pass only for his header to skim the top of the goal. He could have had a hat trick in the 72nd when, with just the goalie to beat, he sent his shot wide of the far post.

North Korea hunted desperately for a goal until the final whistle, but was frustrated by the Saudis, who were always ready to pounce on any error and quickly counterattack.

Jong Il Gwan made an ignoble start, receiving a yellow card for a dangerous tackle just 15 seconds into the match.

ABDULLA ALDOSSARY AL SAHLAWI ASIAN CUP CHINA AND UZBEKISTAN GOAL GROUP B HASSAN MUATH FALLATAH JONG IL GWAN MIDFIELDER RYANG YONG GI NORTH KOREA SAUDI ARABIA
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