Saudi Arabia will play the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup quarterfinal against Vietnam without their captain, who was issued a one-match suspension for receiving two accumulative yellow cards in the group stage.
The Middle East team finished as the Group D winners with a 2-0 win over the United Arab Emirates on Thursday night.
The win sets Saudi Arabia up for a quarterfinal clash against Group C runners-up Vietnam on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia’s skipper Saud Abdulhamid contributed one goal with a free-kick in the third minute of added time in Thursday’s match.
However, earlier in the 48th minute, he was showed a yellow card for a foul on an opponent, increasing his accumulation of yellow cards in the group stage to two.
This means that the captain will be suspended from the quarterfinals in accordance with the FIFA yellow card accumulation rule.
Abdulhamid’s absence is considered a huge loss for the Saudis, given his important contributions to the team’s top-spot finish in Group D.
In addition to Abdulhamid, the Middle East side will play without midfielder Ibrahim Mahnashi in the quarterfinals for the same reason.
Meanwhile, Vietnam are ready for the competition with Saudi Arabia free of players’ suspension.
The Southeast Asian representatives' only concern is defender Vu Tien Long’s injury, which forced him to leave the field early in their dominating 2-0 win over Malaysia on Wednesday evening.
The 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup is the fifth edition of the biennial international football championship organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the under-23 national teams of Asia.
The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Uzbekistan from January 6 to 24, 2022, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescheduled to June 1-19.
The eight quarterfinalists include Uzbekistan, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and Japan.
Vietnam, who have made their fourth appearance at the tournament this year, finished second at the 2018 edition.