KOMPAS.com – Saudi Arabia’s U23 national team made an impressive achievement by winning the 2022 U23 Asian Cup without conceding a goal from the group stage to the final.
On the way to winning the 2022 U23 Asian Cup, the Saudi Arabian national team was also able to subvert a number of formidable opponents such as Southeast Asian giants Vietnam and host Uzbekistan.
Saudi Arabia’s U23 national team has shown an impressive performance since the first match of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup group stage.
Saudi Arabia who are members of Group D started the struggle with a 5-0 victory over Tajikistan.
The five goals were born from five different players, namely Hamad Turki Al Tuhayfan Al Yami, Ayman Yahya Salem Ahmed, Haitham Mohammed Asiri, Moteb Saad Salem Al Harbi, and Abdullah Hadi Radif.
Also read: 2022 U23 Asian Cup Draw: South Korea in Aroma AFF Cup Group
After opening the struggle with a landslide victory, Saudi Arabia faced a tough challenge from the East Asian giant, Japan.
Saudi Arabia was unable to find the net against Japan, who won the 2016 edition of the U23 Asian Cup.
On the other hand, Japan was also unable to vibrate the Saudi Arabian goal which was escorted by a 22-year-old 1.88-meter goalkeeper, Nawaf Alaqidi.
Saudi Arabia and Japan had to be willing to share points after the match ended with the score of glasses aka 0-0.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is scheduled to face the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last match of Group D of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup.
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Saudi Arabia initially seemed difficult in front of the UAE. However, they broke the deadlock in the second half to win the game by a score of 2-0.
A pair of goals that led Saudi Arabia to victory over the UAE were scored by Ayman Yahya Salem Ahmed and Saud Abdullah Salim Abdulhamid.
Thanks to the victory over the UAE, Saudi Arabia has the right to qualify for the quarter-finals of the U23 Asian Cup as winners of Group D. They are ahead on goal difference over Japan, who advanced to the quarter-finals with status runner-up group
Then, in the quarter-finals, Saudi Arabia as the winner of Group D competed against the giants of Southeast Asia, Vietnam.
The Vietnam U23 national team became one of the challengers to be reckoned with after they were able to hold off a draw with defending champions South Korea in the group phase.
Also read: List of Teams Qualifying for the U23 Asian Cup Quarter-Finals: Vietnam Accompanies South Korea, Malaysia-Thailand Escaped
However, Saudi Arabia was able to overcome the threat and beat Vietnam with a score of 2-0 through goals from Moteb Saad Salem Al Harbi and Firas Tariq Nasser Al Brikan.
Saudi Arabia then has the right to continue the struggle to the semifinals. They have been awaited by Australia.
After struggling 90 minutes in front of Australia, Saudi Arabia won the match again with a record clean sheet. The young Green Falcons squad won 2-0 through goals from Hussain Ahmed Al Eisa and Ayman Yahya Salem Ahmed.
Victory over Australia automatically sends Saudi Arabia to the final of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup, where they challenge hosts Uzbekistan.
The final match of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan took place at the Bunyodkor Stadium, Tashkent, on Sunday (19/6/2022).
Also read: U23 Asian Cup: Vietnam Falls with the Defending Champions, Here’s a List of 4 Teams in the Semifinals
Saudi Arabia, which had faced fierce resistance, once again avoided conceding and was able to win the match 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from Ahmed Mazen Ahmed Al Ghamdi and Firas Tariq Nasser Al Brikan.
History is made in Tashkent! ????
— #AFCU23 (@afcasiancup) June 19, 2022
This result became the culmination of Saudi Arabia’s impressive performance at the 2022 U23 Asian Cup. They are unbeaten and always avoid conceding to win the title.
Saudi Arabia also has the right to bring home the U23 Asian Cup trophy for the first time. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan had to wait to become the first country to win the U23 Asian Cup twice.
Previously, Uzbekistan was able to win the U23 Asian Cup in the 2018 edition.
Read also: U23 Asian Cup results: Saudi Arabia to the final, Vietnam and Australia become victims
Saudi Arabia’s impressive performance, especially in terms of defense, cannot be separated from the presence of their goalkeeper, Nawaf Alaqidi.
At the end of the tournament, Nawaf Alaqidi was named the Best Goalkeeper of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup. He deserved the title after keeping Saudi Arabia’s goal intact. clean sheet in six consecutive games.
In addition, another individual title went to Saudi Arabia striker, Ayman Yahya.
He was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup after performing brilliantly with a record of three goals.
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