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Paraguay draws 1-1 with Saudi Arabia in friendly

Paraguay draws 1-1 with Saudi Arabia in friendly

Fisal Bin Sultan scored a second-half equalizer for Saudi Arabia to salvage a 1-1 draw against Paraguay on Wednesday in a friendly ahead of World Cup qualifying.
Paraguay had taken the lead in the ninth minute through Cristian Riveros and controlled much of the game before Bin Sultan exploited a rare mistake by the South American defense in the 77th. The substitute ran toward goal after defender Julio Cesar Caceres misjudged a header and floated a shot over goalkeeper Justo Villar from 20 yards (meters).
Saudi Arabia struggled to contain Paraguay striker Roque Santa Cruz throughout the match, but almost scored a late winner when Ahmed Ateef was denied a shot by Paulo Da Silva's tackle.
Paraguay leads the 10-team South American qualification table for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and resumes its campaign against second-place Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sept. 6.
Paraguay's Argentine coach Gerardo Martino said that match was no more important to him than any other qualifier.
"It is just three points at stake and we are not at the end of qualification yet," Martino said through a translator.
Riveros' goal came off a corner, when he rose unchallenged to head the ball high into the net.
Paraguay had chances to increase the lead in the first half, but Barreto shot tamely at goalkeeper Mansour Al Naje after taking crossfield pass from Oscar Cardozo, and Santa Cruz headed over the goal when Al Naje advanced from his line but failed to collect a cross.
The Saudis' best attempt was a powerful 25-yard (meter) shot from Nassir Al Shamrani in first-half stoppage time that forced Villar to dive to his right and push it away for a corner.
Paraguay should have scored a second goal midway through the second half but Santa Cruz's pass to the far post was sent over an empty net by substitute Salvador Cabanas.
Saudi Arabia hosts Iran in Riyadh also on Sept. 6 to open a five-team group from which two nations will qualify.
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Lineups:
Paraguay: Justo Villar, Carlos Bonet, Julio Cesar Caceres, Paulo Da Silva, Claudio Morel, Edgar Barreto, Enrique Vera, Cristian Riveros, Nelson Valdez (Jonathan Santana, 56), Oscar Cardozo (Salvador Cabanas, 56), Roque Santa Cruz.
Saudi Arabia: Mansour Al Naje, Osama Al Harbi (Majd Hazazi, 46), Redha Tukar, Osama Hawsawi, Abdullah Shuhail (Abdulla Al Dossary, 46), Saud Kariri (Ahmed Ateef, 46), Khaled Aziz (Omar Al Ghamdi, 72), Abdoh Autef (Ahmed Al Mousa, 84), Mohammad Al Shalhoub, Nassir Al Shamrani (Fisal Bin Sultan, 46), Saad Al Harthi.


Updated : 2021-06-20 06:37 GMT+08:00