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JM | Nov 15, 2020

Reggae Boyz whipped 3-0 by Saudia Arabia

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Reading Time: 2 minutes
The Green Falcons celebrate a resounding victory as Saudia Arabia dominated Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz in the first leg of a two-round international friendly series on Saturday, November 14. (Photo: Saudi Arabian Football Federation)

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz returned to international football action in a whimper, having suffered a 3-0 defeat by Saudi Arabia on Saturday (November 14).

First-half goals from Salem Al-Dawsari and Saleh Al-Shehri put the Green Falcons in control, with substitute Firas Albirakan adding a third before the end to secure a comfortable and deserved victory.

Both teams worried about rustiness, as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic halted all official games since March, however, Saudia Arabia was easier the more prepared team—dictating the pace of Saturday’s match.

It was a measured performance from the hosts, ranked 67 in the world, against a lacklustre Reggae Boyz in an empty Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium. The match largely served as a disappointment for the Jamaican men, who are ranked 19 places higher than Saudi Arabia but showed little fight in the two-round international friendly.

The Herve Renard-coached Saudis started brightly and were ahead after just 10 minutes.

Al-Dawsari saw his spot-kick, awarded after Kemar Lawrence handled in the area, well-saved by keeper Dwayne Miller, but the Saudi star was on hand to fire in the rebound from close range.

The Reggae Boyz came within a whisker of equalising, just before the half-hour mark, when a low ball from the right whipped across the Saudi area with Norman Campbell getting a touch from close range.

Saudi custodian Mohammed Al-Yami reacted quickly to palm the ball away from danger, and Jamaica’s closest skirt to goal fizzled out.

On the stroke of half-time, it was 2-0. Lawrence was robbed of possession just outside his own area by the ever-alert Ayman Yahya.

A simple but effective pass found Al-Shehri just inside the area and the forward made no mistake, tucking the ball in the bottom corner.

The Green Falcons, high on confidence, were looking increasingly fluent going forward, and, at the start of the second-half, a slick build-up resulted in a corner that saw Ahmed Sharahili’s header comfortably saved by Miller.

The pressure kept coming from the home team, but they were struggling to create clear enough chances to put the game to bed.
That all changed 14 minutes from the end when another slick attack ended in the third goal.

The impressive Al-Dawsari won possession in the centre-circle and advanced to the edge of the Jamaican area where the former Villarreal slipped the ball to Abdullah Alhamddan who, in turn, squared it to Albirakan to side-foot into the net from close range.

The bonus of a Saudi clean sheet rarely looked in danger as the home team remained solid at the back, denying Jamaica time and space as well as a clear sight of goal.

Jamaica will get a quick chance of revenge as the two teams meet again on Tuesday at the same venue, but for Saudi Arabia, there is plenty to build on.

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