DUBAI, Jan 8 (Xinhua) Saudi Arabia started their 2019 AFC Asian Cup campaign with an easy 4-0 win over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Group E here on Tuesday.
Hatan Bahbri opened the scoring in the 28th minute, while Mohammed Al Fatil extended their lead to 2-0 on 37 minutes.
DPRK almost pulled on back in the 66th minute as Ri Yong Jik fired a long shot from outside of the box, but it was denied by Saudi keeper Mohammed Alowais.
Salem Al Dawsari scored the third goal in the 70th minute, and Fahad Al Muwallad sealed the win on 87 minutes.
Saudi Arabia had beaten DPRK 4-1 in their only previous Asian Cup meeting in the group stage of the 2015 edition.
Saudi Arabia will meet Lebanon on January 12, while DPRK are set to play Qatar on January 13.
The 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the 17th edition of the tournament, is running from January 5 to February 1.
For the first time, the Asian Cup is contested by 24 teams instead of 16 teams, and the finalists will contest a group stage consisting of six groups of four teams, followed by a knockout stage of 16 teams.
The Insides Speak