Saudi Arabia soundly beaten by Iraq in Basra

Author: Arab NewsID: Juan Antonio Pizzi cut a frustrated man on the touchline as Saudi Arabia were soundly beaten by Iraq in Basra BASRA: Saudi Arabia’s World Cup preparations have been hit by a 4-1 defeat to Iraq in Basra, a result that illustrates the work Juan Antonio Pizzi has to do before the showpiece kicks off in the summer. 
An Emad Mohsin Majeed strike and Muhanad Ali brace, along with a Saeed Awadh Al-Yami own goal, were enough to gift the hosts a well-deserved win. 
Juan Antonio Pizzi, as expected, went with an experienced lineup with just three changes to the Saudi Arabia XI that beat Moldova 3-0 on Monday. But any hope that that result would see the Green Falcons start the match full of confidence was dashed early on, with the opening 20 minutes a cagey affair with very little goalmouth action.
With 60,000 passionate Iraq fans packed into the Basra International Stadium that was perhaps no bad thing, but Al-Yami’s own goal — a header from a Humam Tariq cross that left Waleed Abdullah no chance in the Saudi Arabia goal — set the tone for the rest of the match with the visitors playing catch-up and struggling for any sort of rhythm. 
Going into half-time at 1-0 allowed Pizzi the chance to regroup his men, but whatever words he dished out during the break had little effect. 
Iraq debut boy Majeed struck in the 47th minute and a Muhanad strike just four minutes later left the visitors staring possible thrashing in the face. 
Mohammed Hamed’s blunder gifted a goal to Saudi Arabia — Hassan Muath Fallatah scoring from a free-kick that should have been saved — but it proved to be little more than a consolation and did nothing to mask the fact that Pizzi’s men were easily second best. 
As if to emphasize the Iraq’s superiority, Muhanad got his second goal with 15 minutes of the match still to play sealing the victory and putting more gloss on a scoreline that did not flatter Iraq. 
After Saudi Arabia’s impressive victory over Moldova this result is a big setback as Pizzi goes in search of a winning formula ahead of the Green Falcons’ World Cup opener against Russia on June 14.
Tags: Saudi ArabiaIraqArab football2018 World CupfootballSaudi Arabia footballGreen FalconsMain category: Sportsrelated_nodes: Saudi-Iraq football match in Basra kicks off new eraSaudi Arabia striker Muhannad Assiri wants to land starting spot at World CupJuan Antonio Pizzi in search of firepower for Saudi Arabia

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