Late blitz sees Saudi Arabia trounce UAE

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Saudi Arabia defeated the United Arab Emirates 3-0 to move to the top of Group B in the race for 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification.

A second half blitz in Jeddah saw goals from Fahad Al Muwallad, Nawaf Al Abid and Yeh Al Shehri all in the space of 20 minutes, leaving the UAE outfit looking dishevelled.

The commanding win saw them move to the top of Group A on ten points, ahead of Australia and Japan, while UAE are in fourth with six points.

A goalless first half produced scant opportunities for either side, as tentative attacks yielded no fruit.

It was the visitors that could have drawn first blood in the 20th minute via Mohnad Salem, but his header looped harmlessly over the crossbar.

However, the Green Falcons applied the pressure in the second half and substitute Al Muwallad finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute.

Salman Al Faraj’s accurate lob found Al Muwallad who powered an unstoppable shot past hapless UAE goalkeeper Majed Naser.

Al Muwallad was involved in the second goal as well, as he burst through the defence before passing to Taiseer Al Jassam. His shot was blocked, but Al Abid made no mistake in picking up the pieces just six minutes after the first goal.

With little to play for in the dying embers of the game, a lazy challenge from Hassan Safar gave the hosts a free kick from 20 yards out. Al Shehri’s left foot obliged, earning Saudi Arabia fine victory.