Al Hamdan powers Saudi Arabia to victory over Indonesia
Jakarta: Indonesia’s preparations for next week’s 2018 AFC U-19 Championship were dealt a blow on Wednesday as a brace from Abdullah Al Hamdan helped fellow title hopefuls Saudi Arabia seal a narrow 2-1 friendly win over the Southeast Asians.
Despite starting brightly at the Wibawa Mukti Stadium in Cikarang, Indonesia, who will host the AFC U-19 Championship’s latest edition, fell behind in the 37th minute when livewire forward Al Hamdan was afforded too much time and space before thundering home a shot from fully 25 yards.
Roared on by vocal home support, Indra Sjafri’s charges wasted little time in drawing level however, Saddil Ramdani matching the quality of the game’s opening goal with a spectacular strike of his own in first half stoppage-time.
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Saudi Arabia responded well to the setback and duly restored their advantage on 68 minutes as Al Hamdan converted a penalty after Asnawi Mangkualam had brought down the rampaging Ibrahim Mahnashi.
Eager to avoid a third successive defeat following earlier losses to Thailand and China PR, Indonesia rallied late on, but two fine saves from visiting goalkeeper Nawaf Al Ghamdi, who excelled throughout, ensured a morale boosting win for the Saudi Arabians.
Indonesia are scheduled to begin their AFC U-19 Championship Group A campaign on October 18 when they face Chinese Taipei at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, with Saudi Arabia kicking off their bid for continental glory two days later against Group D rivals Malaysia.
Photo: Saudi Arabian Football Federation
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