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  • Sheryll Mericido

Saudi national football team struggles against Costa Rica in opening game

NEWCASTLE — The Saudi national football team faced a tough challenge against Costa Rica in their opening game under Italian coach Roberto Mancini.

Saudi Arabia lost to Costa Rica 3-1 in the friendly game, which was played on Friday at St. James' Park in Newcastle.

The Saudi team's performance was far from dismal, despite the eventual defeat.

In reality, there were several promising moments in the match, especially in the second half, when the Saudi team had several tantalizing chances to score.

However, Keylor Navas of Costa Rica's outstanding goalkeeping abilities consistently thwarted their efforts.

With two goals in the first half, Costa Rica took control of the game early. Calvo's first goal, which came in the 12th minute, established the tone. Soon after, Ugalde gave Costa Rica a two-goal advantage.

With a well-placed corner kick from Ali Al-Bulaihi in the 68th minute of the second half, Saudi Arabia was able to close the score.

But in the dying seconds of the game, Costa Rica added a third goal to secure their triumph.

Nawaf Al-Aqidi served as the starting goalkeeper for Roberto Mancini, while the defensive line included Saud Abdul Hamid, Hassan Tambakti, Ali Al-Bulaihi, and Yasser Al-Shahrani.

Abdullah Al-Khaibri, Mohammed Kanno, and Ali Hazazi all played significant roles in the midfield, with Abdul Rahman Ghareeb and Salem Al-Dawsari filling the spots in the attacking midfield. Firas Al-Buraikan was in charge of the Saudi Arabian attack.

Even though they lost, the Saudi national team learned important lessons from the game that will help them as they continue to train under the direction of their new coach, Roberto Mancini.

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