Bahrain beat South Korea 2-1 to put one of the favourites in real trouble.
|Feeling tops: Saudi Arabian players celebrate
Three-time Asian Cup champion Saudi Arabia blasted Bahrain 4-0 to finish atop Group D and remain in Jakarta for a semifinal on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia scored twice in each half against Gulf rival Bahrain, which needed at least a draw in the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium in Palembang to qualify.
Saudi Arabia took the lead on 17 minutes after Yasser Al Qahtani threaded a ball into the Bahrain penalty area which deflection and broke nicely for Ahmed Al Mousa, who rounded the ‘keeper and sidefooted the goal.
Bahrain’s best chance came 11 minutes later, but striker Ismaeel Abudullateif shot over the bar from close range.
Abdularahman Al Qahtani made it 2-0 just on half time, sliding in at the far post to meet an accurate cross by Malek Maaz, who seconds earlier had missed a decent chance himself.
Bahrain almost pulled one back seven minutes after half time when Salman Isa Ghuloom fired a powerful shot from the left that the ‘keeper parried onto the crossbar.
Saudi Arabia sealed the victory match on 72 minutes in spectacular fashion, when Taisir Al Jassam struck a powerful shot from outside the penalty box that flew past a diving Abdulkarim into the top left corner of the net.
Al Jassam added another 10 minutes from regulation time.