In a thrilling pre-quarterfinal clash at the Asian Games 2023, Saudi Arabia emerged victorious with a resounding 2-0 win against India. The match, held at the Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou, China, showcased football excellence as Saudi Arabia’s Khalil Marran shone with a brace, leaving fans on the edge of their seats.

Saudi Arabia Dominates India

Saudi Arabia vs India Game Highlights:

The game had its fair share of excitement, with key moments keeping the spectators engaged throughout:

  • Marran’s Dominance: Khalil Marran, the standout player of the match, demonstrated his prowess with two crucial goals for Saudi . His first goal came in the 51st minute when he expertly headed the ball into the net from a cross by Mohammed Abu Al Shamat. Marran’s second goal, in the 57th minute, showcased his composure as he tucked the ball past India’s goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, securing Saudi Arabia’s victory.
  • India’s Defensive Efforts: Despite the loss, India’s defense, led by Sandesh Jhingan and Sana Singh, put up a commendable performance. They thwarted several attempts by the Saudi attackers, limiting their goal-scoring opportunities.
  • Chhetri’s Efforts: India’s captain and top goal scorer, Sunil Chhetri, made valiant attempts to turn the tide in India’s favor. Chhetri’s shot on target in the 14th minute was well-saved by Arabia’s goalkeeper, Ahmed Al Jubaya.

Tactical Shifts:

The match saw tactical adjustments from both sides:

  • Saudi Arabia’s Strategic Changes: Saudi Arabia made two crucial substitutions, bringing in Aloyayri and Al Sibyani. These changes bolstered Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain their lead and secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
  • Indian Tactical Shift: India made three substitutions, introducing Bryce Miranda, Ayush Dev Chhetri, and Azfar Noorani while taking out Rahim Ali, Chinglensana Singh, and Abdul Rabeeh. These changes aimed to inject fresh energy into the Indian team and change their tactical approach.

Historical Context:

The victory for Saudi Arabia brought back memories of their previous encounter with India at the Asian Games, where they secured a solitary-goal victory in the quarterfinals in New Delhi back in 1982. The win also extended Saudi Arabia’s historical dominance over India in football, with 18 goals scored in five previous encounters.

The Path to Victory:

Saudi Arabia’s victory in this high-stakes encounter was a result of meticulous planning and execution. The Saudi team, ranked 57th in FIFA rankings, demonstrated their football prowess by consistently applying pressure on India’s defense. With a strategic approach that emphasized quick transitions and exploiting gaps in the Indian defense, Saudi Arabia’s performance was a testament to their preparation and teamwork.

The goals by Khalil Marran showcased not only his individual skill but also the effectiveness of Saudi Arabia’s attacking strategy. This win not only secured their spot in the quarterfinals but also sent a strong message to their future opponents in the tournament

India’s Resilience:

Despite the defeat, India’s performance in the Asian Games 2023 pre-quarterfinals was marked by resilience and determination. Coach Igor Stimac’s strategy focused on a compact defensive block, and this approach limited Saudi Arabia’s scoring opportunities. India’s defensive duo of Sandesh Jhingan and Sana Singh, along with goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, displayed remarkable composure under pressure.

Sunil Chhetri, India’s captain and talisman, led by example with his relentless efforts to inspire his team. The match may have ended in disappointment for India, but their defensive efforts and fighting spirit were evident throughout, leaving fans with a sense of pride and optimism for the future of Indian football.


Saudi Arabia’s impressive performance against India at the Asian Games 2023 pre-quarterfinals showcased the team’s strength and determination. With Khalil Marran’s standout performance and tactical adaptability, Saudi Arabia now moves on to the quarterfinals, while India, despite a resilient defensive effort, faces the end of their journey in this edition of the tournament. Football enthusiasts can look forward to more thrilling matches in the days to come as the competition intensifies.

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