Saudi Arabia suffer defeat despite late rally


Leverkusen: Saudi Arabia walked tall despite losing 2-1 to reigning world champions Germany in a pre-2018 FIFA World Cup Russia friendly match on Friday.

First-half scores by striker Timo Werner and an Omar Hawsawi own goal sealed the win as World No 1 Germany ended a run of five matches without a win.

Saudi Arabia, who play hosts Russia in the opening match of the FIFA World Cup on June 14, would have been pleased with their performance despite the defeat.

Having failed to win any of their previous five games, including a shock 2-1 defeat at neighbours Austria last Saturday, a full-strength German team dominated for long spells in Leverkusen.

Both Sami Khedira and Marco Reus hit the post in the first half as Germany could have doubled their tally, but there were also worrying defensive lapses from the hosts.

Germany grabbed the lead after just eight minutes when a Joshua Kimmich long ball was beautifully controlled by Reus, who squared for Werner to fire home.

Reus, who heart-breakingly missed the 2014 World Cup triumph after tearing ankle ligaments in the final warm-up match, then clattered the post three minutes later.

It took 30 minutes for the visitors to trouble the German defence when forward Fahad Al-Muwallad twice shot wide.

Khedira forced Saudi goalkeeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf into a reflex save on 37 minutes, palming his shot onto the post.

#FIFAWorldCup2018 #SaudiArabia

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