Two second half goals by Saudi Arabia’s striker Mohammed Khalil Maran saw India get knocked out of the Asian Games 2023 in the pre-quarter final match held at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou, China on Thursday.
The Saudi under-23 football team snatched the ticket to the quarterfinals after sealing a 2-0 victory against India. Saudi Arabia displayed their dominance throughout with forward Maran scoring two goals in the 51st and 57th minutes of the match.
In the 51st minute, Mohammed Abu Shamat sent a perfect cross to the right flank and Maran outwitted his marker Sandesh Jhingan to powerfully nod it home giving the Green Falcons the lead. The goal created a bit of panic in the Indian ranks and the second goal was completed in five touches.
Maran needed only six minutes to repeat his visit to the Indian net and score the goals. The young striker continued his distinguished scoring presence for the third match in a row, as he scored against Mongolia in the group stage, in the match that Saudi Arabia won 3-0, and he scored in the last clash against Vietnam, which ended in a 3-1 Saudi victory.
Saudi missed a number of chances in the goalless first half of the match. The first golden chance was in the 22nd minute when Musab Al-Juwayr’s snap right-footer beat Indian goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh and dipped only to hit the horizontal bar. Jhingan stepped up with timely interventions in the first half, including a block to deny Zakaria Hawsawi on his left foot from close range as the teams went into the break goalless.