Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Saudi Arabia v Uzbekistan 2-1

This was a bloody good game of football. Saudi started the livelier and were one up in 2 minutes but then Uzbekistan clawed their way back and for much of the first half were probably the better team creating numerous chances. The Saudis remained a threat though, their pace and strength causing problems for the Uzbek defence.

Second half was more of the same as the Uzbeks pressed for the equalizer. I lost count of how often they were thwarted by the man of the match, the Saudi woodwork. It was the Saudis who scored again with 15 minutes on the clock and an Uzbek goal with 8 minutes left was scant consolation for their role in this sumptuous game.

It wasn’t just end to end football with both teams looking to win it within 90 minutes. There was little in the way of rolling round in agony, little gamesmanship. The players weren’t slapping opponents on the back but it was played in a tremendously positive spirit that lacked the overt cynicism that often blights the game at higher levels..once the Saudis went 2 up you would forgive them for settling back and indulging in some time wasting but it doesn’t seem to be their way. At 2-1 in possibly the last minute of injury time they broke at speed. Instead of working the ball down to the corner flag they made space and forced a corner.

As expected the crowd was disappointing. The Saudis had a few there plus the support of local Indonesians who seemed to have been bussed in for the occasion and given a green t shirt. A smattering of Uzbek fans sat behind the goal and were rarely heard but the vast majority of neutrals/Indonesians in the crowd were cheering them on.

Like I said, a bloody good game of football

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