Dubai: Saudi Arabia defeated DPR Korea 4-0 to open their AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Group E campaign in style at the Rashid Stadium in Dubai on Tuesday. Both sides had met in the Continental showpiece four years ago, with Saudi Arabia winning 4-1, but DPR Korea - powered by five players who had played abroad - went into the match confident of their chances.
The opening minutes saw possession evenly balanced but as the match progressed, the Green Falcons began to dominate with their first clear chance coming in the 13th minute through Abdulaziz Al Bishi’s left-footed strike which just missed the target.
Saudi Arabia’s Hatan Bahbri was a nuisance for the Koreans down the left flank and his cross into the box in the 24th minute showed his threat, with a sliding Ali Hadi Albulayhi just failing to connect.
Four minutes later, Bahbri did it on his own as he dribbled past DPR Korea’s Ri Il-jin and sent a curler from the left that left the DPR Korea goalkeeper rooted.
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side grew in confidence after the goal and they doubled their lead in the 37th with an amazing goal.
Hussain Almoqahwi’s free-kick from just outside the box sailed into the box and Mohammed Al Fatil diverted it into the net with a back heel.
DPR Korea suffered another blow just a minute before the break when Han Kwang-song received a second yellow card for a tackle on Almoqahwi.