Saudi Arabia beat Algeria 2-1 to claim their first ever Arab Cup U-20 title in Cairo
First win in the competition for Saudi Arabia U-20 team that finished runner-up in 2011 and 2012.
Saudi Arabia claimed the 2021 Arab Cup U-20 title with an impressive 2-1 victory over Algeria in the final at Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday.
After defeats in the final of the competition in 2011 and 2012, the triumph marks the end of decade-long wait for the young Green Falcons to be crowned the best Arab nation at that level for the first time.
The Saudi U-20 team recorded five wins and one loss in the group stage, beating Uzbekistan (2-0) and Yemen (2-1), and losing 2-1 to Tunisia (2-1).
The six points saw the Saudis progress to the quarterfinal where they faced the defending champions Senegal, the match ending in a 2-2 draw after extra time before Saleh Al-Mohammadi’s team edged the penalty shootout 3-2.
In the semi-final, Saudi Arabia eliminated hosts Egypt with a 2-1 win to set up the final against Algeria.
The new Arab champions have a storied history at this level, having competed in the World Cup nine times, achieving the best results in 2011 and 2017 editions by reaching the round of 16.
At continental level, the team’s achievements are even more impressive, winning the AFC U-20 Asian Cup three times (1986, 1992, 2018), finishing runner-up on two occasions, and third in the championship twice. The Saudi U-20 team also won the Gulf Cup in 2016.
By Prathamesh Masurkar