Saturday, July 28, 2007

Perspective: The best defence, but is it enough against the best attack?

The best defence takes on the best attack in the tournament as Iraq and Saudi Arabia play off for the region's premier football crown in the Asian Cup final here Sunday.

Iraq, who have captivated the football world with their inspirational progress to the Jakarta decider, have conceded just two goals in five games, while the dazzling Saudis have found the net 12 times.

The Iraqis, emotional favourites as they chase their first-ever Asian Cup title amid all the carnage back home, will have to find a way to restrict the scoring opportunities of the Saudis' star striker Yasser Al Qahtani.

Known as the 'Sniper', he is joint leading tournament sharpshooter with Japan's Naohiro Takahara on four goals and with team-mate Malek Maaz forms a potent striking force for the Iraqi defence.

Iraq have showed great resolve throughout the tournament, crushing Australia 3-1 and negotiating South Korea on penalties in last Wednesday's gruelling two-hour semi-final in Kuala Lumpur.

The triple champion Saudis have played all but one of their five matches in Jakarta and their tournament hopes soared when they shocked favourites Japan 3-2 in their semi-final in Hanoi.

Read the rest at Yahoo News