Riyadh: Head coach Herve Renard was delighted after seeing his Saudi Arabia side cruise to a 5-0 win against Palestine in Group D of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Tuesday.
A brace from Saleh Al Shehri and further goals from Yasser Al Shahrani, Fahad Al Muwallad and Salem Al Dawsari at King Saud University Stadium steered the Green Falcons to the top of the group with 11 points from five matches.
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The Frenchman was not only happy with the big result but also delighted with his team's performance, especially the young players.
“The players performed well, especially the young players who also featured in the friendly against Kuwait,” said Renard. “I'm very happy for them and I want to congratulate them for what they did.”
Despite the big win, the 52-year-old Renard said Saudi Arabia had to work hard against a Palestinian side who created several problems for them throughout the match.
“We didn't have a good start while Palestine had the first chance but they didn't score - fortunately for us,” he said. “We started moving the ball (better) and we scored the first two goals which made the match easier for us in the second half.
“Palestine played a lot of long balls which caused some trouble for us. However, we did a good job in general to stop their threat.”
Palestine head coach Noureddine Ould Ali said his team conceded heavily because they respected their opponents too much, which allowed Saudi Arabia to control the match.
"We had a bad start to the match and we were just watching our opponents,” said the Algerian,. “We respected Saudi Arabia more than we should have and gave them the chance to control the match.
"The result is heavy for us and for me personally,” he added. “Things didn’t go as we expected because we had a plan but the players showed something different on the pitch.”
Photo: Saudi Arabian Football Federation
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