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Saudi Arabia defeats China in FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-10-13 09:20
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China's Wu Xi celebrates after scoring. [Photo/Xinhua]

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Sami Al-Naji's two first-half goals helped Saudi Arabia beat China 3-2 in the final round of the FIFA World Cup Asian Zone qualifiers here on Tuesday.

China was outclassed by Australia and Japan in their first two games and notched up their first win over Vietnam 3-2 by an injury-time winner. Vietnam remains rooted to the bottom of the group after four rounds of matches.

Saudi Arabia opened the scoring in the 15th minute when Sami Al-Naji netted home with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner. Sami Al-Naji added the goal in the 38th minute from a very close range to the centre of the goal on Sultan Al-Ghannam's cross.

China's Wu Lei competes for the ball. [Photo/Xinhua]

After the restart, China pulled back the score on 1-2 with Luo Guofu's right footed shot from the left side of the box in the 46th minute. But Feras Al-Brikan tapped in the ball to put Saudi Arabia 3-1 ahead in the 72nd minute.

Wu Xi fired home with a left footed shot from outside the box in the 87th minute to help China close the scoring again on 2-3 but failed to turn the game around.

China was drawn into Group B of the final round with Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Vietnam. The top two from both six-team groups qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar automatically. The two third-placed teams will then face each other in a two-legged playoff, with the winner of that tie entering an intercontinental playoff.

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