AFC Asian Cup 2019: Saudi Arabia’s national soccer team on Saturday qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup knockout stage, having earned a 2-0 victory over Lebanon in their Group E second-round match at Al Maktoum Stadium in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai. Forward Fahad Al Muwallad and midfielder Hussain Almoqahwi scored for Saudi Arabia, leading the three-time AFC champion to the Asian Cup round of 16 for the seventh time in history.

Al Muwallad opened the scoring for Saudi Arabia just 12 minutes into the game with a right-footed shot from the right side of the box, sending the ball to the high center of the goal. After the break, Almoqahwi doubled the Saudi lead seven minutes after the hour-mark with a close-range right-footed shot, seizing on a cross by teammate Hatan Bahbri.

Meanwhile, Iran have also qualified in the next round of the tournament by thrashing Vietnam 2-0. With its second group stage victory, Iran holds the group’s top spot with six points, securing its berth in the knockout stage. Forward Sardar Azmoun opened the scoring for Iran in the 38th minute with a close-range header, sending the ball to the bottom left corner of the goal off a cross by teammate Saman Ghoddos. After the break, Azmoun found Vietnam’s net again six minutes after the hour mark on a left-footed shot from the centre of the box off an assist by Mahdi Torabi. With its second defeat, Vietnam holds the third and second-to-last spot in the table with no points in their pocket, on goal difference ahead of last-placed Yemen who had conceded a 5-0 defeat against Iran in their first encounter.

Later in the day, Yemen is set to take on second-placed Iraq, who have three points in their pocket after topping Vietnam 3-2 in their first duel.

(With IANS Inputs)