All square in all-Arab thriller

Saudi Arabian veteran Sami Al Jaber was almost the hero for his team, scoring just two minutes after coming on as a substitute, but Tunisian defender Radhi Jaidi equalised in added time to end the match in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

    Jumping Jaziri: Tunisia go 1-0 up

    In a roller coaster of a match, Tunisia led at the break through a Zied Jaziri goal, only for that to be cancelled out by a Yasser Al Kahtani strike for Saudi Arabia in the 57th minute.

    The Saudis then took the lead for the first time through a crisp finish by Al Jaber late in the match, only to lose it again when Bolton Wanderers defender Jaidi headed home with minutes to spare.

    Al-Hilal based striker Al Kahtani scored the equaliser for Saudi Arabia from a pin-point Mohammed Noor cross in the 57th minute. 

    Although tracked by two Tunisian defenders, Al Kahtani kept his focus and sent the ball into the roof of the net with a nice finish, making it 1-1.

    With the match in the balance both sides became more reserved in not wanting to lose all three points, but the contest livened up once again with ten minutes remaining.

    The Saudis celebrate after Al
    Kahtani's equaliser

    Brazilian coach Marcos Paqueta subbed Al Jaber on in the 82nd minute for the Saudis, and two minutes later he had what he thought was the match winner, latching on to an excellent through ball after a length of the field move down the left.

    The 33 year old striker has scored goals in three different World Cup Finals, netting in 1994, 1998 and now at Germany 2006.

    The North Africans then pushed men forward in an attempt to get at least a point out of the match and their efforts were rewarded when the towering Jaidi headed in from a nice Jaziri cross.

    The draw may not be enough for either team, as they would have preferred to secure all three points from this match given they must both now face Europeans Spain and Ukraine.

    Earlier, Tunisia had a penalty claim correctly turned down by Australian referee Mark Shield as Jaziri appeared to be brought down in the box in the 4th minute, but the appeal was waved away as the Troyes striker went down too easily.

    Jaziri scored the opening goal in the 23rd minute with an outstanding acrobatic right foot finish from a free kick that was floated into the box and headed down by Saudi Arabian defender Redha Tukar, the ball falling into the path of Jaziri who sent his shot crashing into the back of the net.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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