Saudi Gazette report
ALAHSA — In a commanding performance at Al Fateh Club Stadium, Saudi Arabia triumphed 4-0 over Pakistan in Group G of the Preliminary Joint Qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup Saudi Arabia 2027 on Thursday.
Roberto Mancini’s squad now tops Group G with three points following the 1-1 draw between Tajikistan and Jordan.
Saleh Al Shehri wasted no time putting Saudi Arabia in the lead, netting a goal within six minutes. An initial shot from Mohammed Maran was blocked, and Al Shehri capitalized on the rebound, navigating the box and unleashing a left-footed strike past goalkeeper Yousuf Butt.
Despite Pakistan’s attempt to level the score in the 16th minute with Fareed Ullah’s header narrowly missing the target, Saudi Arabia maintained control. Right back Saud Abdulhamid posed a constant threat with his dynamic movements and crosses, yet the pressure didn’t convert into additional goals.
The hosts continued their attacking prowess in the second half, earning a penalty within the first minute. Mamoon Moosa Khan’s foul on Al Shehri paved the way for the forward to score his second goal from the spot.
Muath Faqihi had an opportunity to extend the lead to 3-0 but narrowly missed the target. Abdulhamid’s persistent efforts paid off when substitute Abdulrahman Ghareeb connected with his cross, slotting the ball into the bottom corner in added time, securing Saudi Arabia’s third goal.
In a display of skill, Abdullah Radif, a late substitute, weaved through three Pakistani defenders to notch the fourth goal, marking Saudi Arabia’s first win since their historic 2-1 triumph over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Saudi Arabia is set to face Jordan in Amman on Tuesday, while Pakistan will host Tajikistan at the Jinnah Sports Stadium in Islamabad.